European launch of monitoring technology has potential to improve care for millions of patients with heart failure or arrhythmias.
The Medtronic CareLink Network with wireless telemetry can be programmed to automatically transmit patient and device data on potentially deadly disease progression from an implanted heart device directly to physicians. This has the potential to improve care for millions of patients with heart failure or arrhythmias by allowing prompt monitoring and management of disease progression, which may help prevent sudden cardiac death (SCD).
Compatible devices include cardiac resynchronisation therapy-defibrillators (CRT-D) for patients with heart failure and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) for patients with arrhythmias. The Medtronic CareLink Network is also the first and only approved system to allow remote monitoring and alerting of fluid buildup in the thoracic cavity (a precursor of heart failure) via a proprietary feature called OptiVol Fluid Status Monitoring, potentially preventing heart failure hospitalisations.
According to Dr. John Morgan, professor of cardiology, Southampton University, Southampton, England, "This wireless technology is a major step forward in the management of chronic heart disease. For the first time, it allows us unprecedented, immediate access to patient data."
Approximately 14 million people in Europe currently suffer from heart failure1, and a half-million patients die from SCD in Europe each year2. "The prompt alert of major disease progression allows any necessary review of patient therapy and prompt intervention if needed -- in many cases there is a good chance we can avoid emergency admissions of patients with heart failure to hospitals. Using this technology we can better manage patients in the primary care setting and potentially reduce their dependence on hospitals," commented Dr. Morgan.
The Medtronic CareLink Network with Conexus Wireless Telemetry enables hands-free transmissions that take place automatically if the patient's device detects a problem, such as an arrhythmia or fluid overload. The new technology offers patients peace of mind knowing physicians will be automatically made aware if certain cardiac problems occur, even in cases where the patient does not feel symptoms. Additionally, it is the only product available that can promptly provide physicians with data comparable to an in-office visit, offering patients more choice and flexibility. The system allows automatic data transmission without interference by cell phones or other electrical equipment via the global standard Medical Implant Communications Service (MICS) radio frequency band.