New Tiny Implant Cardiac Monitor May Save You from a Stroke

  • Topic Info:Atrial fibrillation, or flutter, is a common type of abnormal heartbeat and has been linked to risk of stroke. In this condition, the heart rhythm is fast and irregular. Atrial fibrillation may occur without your knowledge, causing you not to seek medical attention and thus increase your risk of death from stroke.

    Atrial fibrillation is the most common abnormal rhythm of the heart, and at least five million Americans suffer from the condition.

    What if there was something that could help prevent strokes from happening in those who suffer from atrial fibrillation, other than medication?

    A new device about the size of a AAA battery can be injected into your skin. This device then automatically hooks up with a bedside transponder. If you have any abnormal rhythms in your heart, it will find the nearest cell phone tower and transmit that information to your caregiver.

    Doctors will now be able to tell when you've had an abnormal rhythm, even if you can't.

    In a Northwestern Medicine study, researchers monitored people with cryptogenic strokes for intermittent atrial fibrillation using the new device. The device detected atrial fibrillation in 30 percent of people with cryptogenic stroke.

    Using standard techniques, physicians only found atrial fibrillation in about three percent of these patients. Because of these results, those 30 percent of patients were almost all switched to blood thinners. This treatment action should protect them from having another stroke.

    Medical director for the Program for Atrial Fibrillation at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, associate director of Cardiac Electrophysiology, and a member of the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, Rod S. Passman, MD, shares the alarming risks of atrial fibrillation, new research that helps connect the link between atrial fibrillation and stroke and a new treatment option.
  • Host: Melanie Cole, MS