“In five to ten years,” Dr. Randy Bryant, a Pediatric Electrophysiologist told the audience last Saturday morning, “we should be able to offer a wireless pacemaker.”
WHOA! Anyone who has ever heard the words “broken lead” knows that the only one way to replace a pacemaker lead is surgically. You have to be cut open (again!) and have the broken lead removed and replaced. And with their active lifestyle, children can be especially hard on their pacemaker leads.
As Dr. Bryant said, wireless pacemaker technology is not available yet. But wireless monitoring systems are coming into use – including a portable, wearable, and practically invisible ECG monitor.
Corventis recently won approval to market their new NUVANT Mobile Cardiac Telemetry (MCT) System. NUVANT uses a cardiac monitor that appears to be about four inches wide and transmits to a receiver on the patients waist. The reciver then transmits the data to a monitoring center. After that, the data is relayed to the patient’s doctor. Using NUVANT, someone could have their heart monitored from anywhere in the world without interfering with their daily activities.
The XPECT clinical trial was a look at an early implantable wireless heart monitor, designed to detect Atrial Fibrillation (AF). The recorder was surgically implanted in 247 patients, and after a few weeks of healing, the monitors were turned on. Patients also wore a Holter Monitor as a “backup” for comparison purposes.
The test went well. When the new implantable wireless monitors were compared to the more traditional Holter Monitors, the implants detected an AF rhythm 96% of the time. There are limitations with the implantable monitors, but this was a succesful test.
Those wireless pacemakers may be a little closer to reality than we all thought!