For patient and cardiologist alike, paroxysmal or “occasional” arrhythmia is a diagnostic challenge. The course of events starts when the GP makes a referral because he or she couldn’t ignore the patient’s worries. Before referring, they performed all the usual tests, including an ECG, which was about as likely to pick up the problem as waiting for the first snowflake at Christmas. You know it’s coming…you just don’t know when.
The patient then has another unproductive ECG at the clinic and the cardiologist declares them all fine, sends them away and says if it gets worse, come back again, preferably when you’re “enjoying” an episode. All of which is highly unlikely, but ignores the fact that these arrhythmias can be dangerous things, however infrequently they occur. The sequence of events listed here shouts out for a longer term cardiac monitoring solution, and a new press release from monitoring device specialist Biotronik suggests the specialist community agrees. Dr. Dietrich Andresen, medical director of the Department of Cardiology and Intensive Care Unit and the Department of Internal Medicine and Angiology at Klinikum am Urban, Berlin, Germany, professor and cardiologist has a lifetime of experience in diagnosing unrecognized arrhythmias. And he’s a fan of remote monitoring.
According to statistics compiled by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), atrial fibrillation, just one type of arrhythmia, affects 1.5-2% of the population in the developed world. Some of those affected may have severe atrial fibrillation without even realizing it, which can lead to fainting and increases the risk of stroke five-fold.
Biotronik’s BioMonitor is a unique, subcutaneous implantable leadless cardiac monitor, intended for the highly accurate and reliable long-term continuous remote monitoring of patients with arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, bradycardia, tachycardia or sudden heart rate drop.
BioMonitor employs BIOTRONIK Home Monitoring® for the daily transmission of information, allowing for earlier intervention and therapy adoption. While some patients may need such a device for unexplained symptoms such as fainting, others may require it to detect episodes of atrial fibrillation after an ablation—a process in which cardiac tissue causing an abnormal heart rhythm is scarred or burned using a catheter. In either case, the more precise the information, and the more accurately and quickly it is captured after an event, the easier it is to intervene early with just the right therapy to prevent the patient’s condition from worsening.
“We live in a time that allows us to monitor patients ever more thoroughly and efficiently,” commented Dr. Andresen, “it is still simply fascinating that we are able to do this outside of the hospital, without any patient interaction—indeed, without the patient even being conscious of it. As a cardiologist, you want to capture an event the moment it happens. To be able to say ‘that was it’ and make a diagnosis based on fact, not an assumption.”