NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – What do you get if you combine an EKG heart monitor with a Wi-Fi transmitter and then shrink it down to the size of a memory stick?
You get an EKG recorder that helps doctors find dangerous heart rhythms.
Have you ever felt your heart flutter or skip a beat?
Those are very common heart rhythm abnormalities, arrhythmias. The vast majority of those are harmless but certain ones can be dangerous.
The trick is catching that abnormality in the act so a doctor can tell if it’s dangerous, reports CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez.
Gabrielle Miccio looks as healthy as any third year college student, and she is, except for a nasty heart problem she’s had for about five years.
“It feels like my heart just skips a beat and then is starts racing. It can go from a low, normal resting heart rate, to something like someone is running and it’s in a matter of seconds. I get nauseous, dizzy, I did faint one time from it, I shake, I get very fatigued for the rest of the day,” the 20-year-old said.
Gabby has had innumerable EKG done but Gabby’s unpredictable, they come out of the blue. The key to diagnosing heart arrhythmias is catching them in the act.
Something called a Holter monitor sometimes works but is often not enough for arrhythmias a sporadic as Gabby’s.
“If we don’t catch the abnormal rhythm in the act, we don’t really know what’s really happening. So the Holter monitor might be good for a couple of days or more,” Dr. Vivek Reddy of Mount Sinai Hospital said.
The cardiac electrophysiologist has decided that Gabby needs the latest technology in heart monitoring, something called an implantable loop recorder.
It’s a tiny device, about the size of a memory stick, that packs a lot of technology.
Once it’s inserted under the skin with just a little local anesthesia, it monitors and records Gabby’s heart rhythm for up to three years and automatically uploads it to Dr. Reddy to analyze.
“We may consider giving her medication, different type of medication, tailored to what that abnormal rhythm might be. Another possibility is she has a recurrence for what we did an ablation,” Dr. Reddy said.
Gabby just wants her episodes to get better.
“I just don’t want to have to experience all of this again,” the student said.
The ablation Dr. Reddy mentioned is something Gabby’s had twice already. It’s where he goes in and uses radio-frequency to destroy small areas of abnormal heart tissue that may be triggering the arrhythmias.
The loop recorder will tell if that has to be done again.