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Published on April 25, 2014

Rush-Copley Electrophysiologist Implants Area’s First Insertable Cardiac Monitor

(Aurora, IL) – While some causes of unexplained fainting are harmless, others can be serious.  Heart-related causes, including abnormal heart rhythms, are among the most serious causes of fainting.  Studies show that a new device now being used at Rush-Copley Medical Center, an insertable cardiac monitor, also called an insertable loop recorder (ILR), may diagnose the cause of infrequent, unexplained fainting spells.

Larry Streadwick, a 78-year-old man from Sandwich,IL., has experienced several dizzy spells over the past year; some so severe he fell to the ground from them.  In an effort to find out what was causing his dizziness, Streadwick lugged around an external heart monitor with leads attached to his skin for 30 days – but received no answers.  On April 10, Streadwick became the first patient to receive the new Medtronic Reveal LINQ insertable cardiac monitoring system at Rush-Copley Medical Center.  The tiny device, smaller than a key, is the smallest heart monitor on the market and can detect and record abnormal heart rhythms for up to three years.  Edward Lipman, a cardiologist who specializes in electrophysiology with Fox Valley Cardiovascular Consultants at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, performed the procedure.

“An ILR can be an effective tool in patients who experience episodes of fainting or who have suffered a stroke with no known cause,” said Dr. Lipman.  “With the ILR, we have continuous monitoring which provides physicians with better, more accurate data, resulting in better diagnosis and outcomes for patients.”

Previous loop recorders were about eight times larger and did not have continuous daily updates to the physician.  The small size, ease of implantation and follow-up make this new device without equal.  The device is placed just under the skin of the chest in a simple outpatient procedure that takes less than 10 minutes and does not require sedation, other than a local anesthetic at the site of the puncture.  The ultra-discreet heart monitor is not visible in most patients.

Patients with the ILR also receive a small, hand-held device that allows them to note symptoms in real time.  Patients like Streadwick place the device over the ILR in their chest to start recording when they feel like they are having or are about to have a dizzy spell.  In addition, an online patient monitor keeps patients connected to their doctor with wireless, remote monitoring.  Abnormal heart rhythm data is automatically sent to the physician over a secure Internet connection.

Streadwick, who has only had the device implanted for a short time, already sees its benefits compared to other monitors.

“This device is much more convenient than the holter monitor I’ve worn,” Streadwick said.  “It’s much easier to manage and live with day to day.”

Rush-Copley is one of the first Chicago area hospitals to make this new technology available to patients.


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