Hartford Hospital is the first medical facility in the region to implant a new pacemaker with wireless technology that can notify physicians of changes in their patients' device or condition. This device significantly improves follow-up care, making the process more efficient and convenient for both patients and physicians. It is the first pacemaker with automatic test results and complete diagnostics that can be accessed via wireless communication in a clinic or from the patient's home.
Dr. Eric Crespo, an electrophysiologist at Hartford Hospital, implanted the Accent RF pacemaker, developed by St. Jude Medical. The device, which monitors a patient's heart and provides electronic stimulation when the heart beats too slowly, enables the physician to supervise the patient's condition remotely. In addition, on scheduled check-up dates, data from the pacemaker is wirelessly sent from the patient's home to the physician – typically while the patient sleeps, with no patient interaction required – and becomes available to the physician for viewing via the Merlin.net Patient Care Network.
In addition to regular device follow-up appointments, the wireless communication also enables the device to automatically alert physicians to important changes with the device or the patient's heart rhythm, between scheduled device checks. Instead of relying on annual or bi-annual offices visit to discover arrhythmias, a doctor can now detect these potentially deadly heart problems when they occur, allowing for earlier intervention.
"Implanting a pacemaker is often just the first step in caring for patients with certain types of heart rhythm disorders," said Dr. Crespo. "The ability to remotely monitor the patient's heart with a wireless pacemaker allows me to identify critical changes long before they would otherwise have been noted and enables me to address issues in a more timely fashion than was previously possible."
The Merlin.net Patient Care Network also allows physicians to compile a more complete patient record by easily transferring cardiac device data into electronic health records. This allows the physician to view all patient information side-by-side in a secure, easy to access location.
Cardiac pacemakers are used to treat bradycardia, a heart rate that is too slow. These devices monitor the heart and provide electrical stimulation when the heart beats too slowly for each patient's specific physiological requirements.