Remote monitoring of implantable devices like defibrillators is slowly becoming mainstream. An article in the Chicago Tribune examines devices from Biotronik and Guidant which use wireless technology to report in every night from the patient's home. One outcome in these days of recalls is that any possible defect in devices can be monitored immediately. Dr. Niraj Varma, director of the electrophysiology lab at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, IL, notes: "If you have 50,000 devices affected by a defect notification, that would mean that far fewer than 500 would actually fail, but you have 50,000 patients who are very concerned."
In addition, other data such as weight gain or heart rhythms can be sent back to physicians. While this type of monitoring is becoming relatively common in in-patient ICU settings--with VISICU prominent in that movement--the healthcare system is not yet set up for wide-scale remote monitoring of mobile implant patients.
- read this article from the Chicago Tribune