Devices are slowly revolutionizing the healthcare space, providing physicians with new diagnostic tools and treatment approaches. Let’s take a look at some of new examples available in the cardiovascular space today.
In the United States, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is responsible for 1 in every 4 deaths.
CVD often involves plaque build-up in blood vessels, leading to things like heart attack and stroke. But CVD can also include conditions that affect the heart muscle, valves, and rhythm of the heart. So, one device company, Medtronic, has developed some new technology in the CVD space to address these rarer CVD conditions.
Before a physician can prescribe treatment, they must determine the cause of the problem. This can be difficult in conditions involving heart rhythm. Heartbeat issues may occur infrequently, making the underlying condition hard to find and treat. Very often, extensive monitoring must be conducted to properly diagnose heart rhythm issues.
Monitoring used to involve clunky equipment, like Holter monitors, with many leads stuck to the chest and abdomen. This was limiting for patients, as it reduced their ability to shower, got in the way of daily activities, and was only meant for short-term use.
Now, there’s a device for that.
Medtronic has created a device called the Reveal LINQ™ Insertable Cardiac Monitor (ICM). The Reveal LINQ™ system includes a tiny (about half the size of a thumb drive) monitor inserted just under the skin, where it is virtually undetectable. A bedside unit collects heart rhythm data from the ICM and sends it right to the treating physician.
Not only does this Reveal LINQ™ system tackle the issue of infrequent, irregular heartbeat tracking, it can also remain in the body, monitoring the patient for up to 3 years.
So, what happens after a patient receives an accurate diagnosis?
Take bradycardia (slow heart rate) for example. A patient used the Reveal LINQ™ system, and their cardiologist diagnosed them with bradycardia. The treatment for bradycardia used to involve a surgically implanted pacemaker. This surgery would leave behind a large scar, and the device battery would only last about 4–8 years on average.
Now, there’s a more advanced device for that.
Medtronic has created the Micra™ transcatheter pacing system (TPS),the world’s smallest pacemaker. Micra™is placed in the heart via a vein in the leg, thus no chest incision, scar, or bump that results from conventional pacemakers. Additionally, it has an estimated battery life of 12 years, reducing the need for repeat surgeries.
CVD is not the only space where devices are revolutionizing treatment. Check out more innovative medical technologies now.
Jessica Drum can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is an advocate of new technology helping to better healthcare outcomes.