For 16 years, Jenny (not her real name) experienced mysterious fainting, dizziness and heart palpitations. “I’ll be totally fine, and then it just hits me like a brick,” she says. “It makes it challenging, because there’s never anything I can pinpoint to prevent it from happening.”
Now, thanks to Providence Heart Institute, the 24-year-old has a better chance to unravel and treat this mystery.
In November, Jenny became one of the first people in the nation to receive an implantable and smart phone-compatible heart rhythm monitor. If she has an episode, she can open an app on her phone and transmit 16 minutes of heart rhythm data to her cardiologist, who can evaluate the information and develop an appropriate treatment.
“Having a cell phone transmitting the data is way more convenient, because this day and age no one goes anywhere without their cell phone,” she says.
Dr. Randy Jones, an electrophysiologist at Providence Heart Institute, said it took about three minutes to implant the device in Jenny’s chest while she was awake.
The new device is much more convenient for patients than previous generation monitors, which attached to the body with stickers. It’s also more likely to catch problems.
“Most heart monitors, if you have a heart rhythm problem or pass out every several months, catching it is a matter of chance,” Jones said. “It’s a big step for medical devices to use Bluetooth and be patient accessible,” he adds. “Before, patients didn’t really have a way to record episodes and see it themselves. It’s a lot more convenient.”
Providence Heart Institute is able to provide Jenny with the monitor thanks to a clinical trial with its manufacturer, Abbott. Donors provide critical support to research at Providence Heart Institute.
Jenny is grateful to have the opportunity to use the new technology. “Hopefully it will give me some answers and be a breakthrough for other people,” she says.