Cardiac Rhythm & Heart Failure Disease Management

Cardiac Diagnostics and Monitoring

Medtronic Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitor System

A small cardiac monitor (4.5cms long and 0.7cm wide) is inserted under the skin in the left chest area. The monitor allows your heart’s electrical activity to be continuously monitored for up to 3 years. Programmed by your Doctor, the monitor automatically stores heart related events. If you experience a symptom such as dizziness, fainting or palpitations, a hand held button may also be pressed to record the event. The data collected by the device may either be transmitted automatically to your clinic through a home monitor, as well as by your cardiologist at your follow up appointments.

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My CareLink Patient Monitor

An electronic device that makes it easy for your doctor to obtain information that is recorded by your cardiac monitor, pacemaker or defibrillator pacemaker. The monitor allows you to send your heart device information over a standard telephone line (either mobile or landline) to your clinic. The information you send is available within minutes. This service means that you can fulfil some of your follow up appointments from home. A further benefit of this service is that it allows you to travel to over 300 countries and still be able to transmit your device information from wherever you have access to phone reception.

Pacing Therapy

Bradycardia is a condition in which the heart beats too slowly, resulting in a reduced amount of oxygen rich blood from being delivered to the body during normal activity or exercise. As a result, symptoms such as dizziness and fainting, chronic lack of energy and shortness of breath may be experienced. Following a series of tests, your doctor may prescribe a pacemaker to rectify the bradycardia and associated symptoms.

A pacemaker is a small device that is implanted under the skin, typically below the collarbone. It consists of the pulse generator which contains the battery and circuitry, and one or two leads about the size of a spaghetti noodle that carries the electrical impulse from the pacemaker to your heart.

As the pacemaker is designed to mimic the heart’s natural pacemaker, it only paces when the heartbeat is too slow or interrupted, the remainder of the time it monitors the heart’s natural electrical activity and does not pace.

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Defibrillation Therapy

Tachyarrythmias (fast heart rates) occur when overly sensitive cells in the heart release electrical impulses at an accelerated rate. Ventricular tachyarrythmias start in the ventricles and are called Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) and Ventricular Fibrillation (VF). Because the ventricles pump blood to the body, both of these conditions can lead to a rapid depletion of oxygen-rich blood to the body, a life threatening condition. Some of the causes of tachyarrthmias include high blood pressure, poor blood supply to the heart muscle, heart valve disease, heart failure and infections.

Therapy for a fast heart rhythm may include implantation of a Cardiovertor/Defibrillator (ICD). These devices use various therapies to treat fast heart rhythms which include painless antitachycardia pacing, through to defibrillation. This therapy is similar to the treatment provided by an external defibrillator, however a much lower level of electricity is delivered as it is applied directly to the heart.

In addition to treating dangerous fast heart rhythms, all ICD’s also have pacemaker functions to protect the heart from bradycardia (slow heart rate) should this occur.

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Cardiac Resynchronisation Therapy

Common heart failure symptoms are a result of the heart not pumping enough blood to meet the body’s needs. In a healthy heart, the upper and lower chambers contract in a co-ordinated fashion. In heart failure this synchrony is lost and results in symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, chronic lack of energy, swelling of the feet and legs, and difficulty sleeping.

In order to relieve these symptoms and improve quality of life, your doctor may prescribe a bi-ventricular pacemaker. This type of pacemaker has three leads, one in the atrium and one supplying each ventricle. It is programmed to provide synchronized contraction of the ventricles which restores a co-ordinated rhythm and symptom relief. As heart failure patients are more at risk of dangerous fast heart rhythms, most bi-ventricular pacemakers also have built in defibrillation function; this would be discussed and decided with your doctor prior to the procedure.

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