1st Minn. man gets miniature cardiac monitor - KMSP-TV

1st Minn. man gets miniature cardiac monitor

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COON RAPIDS, Minn. (KMSP) -

A tiny new implant could be the key that unlocks the mystery of abnormal heart rhythms, and Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, Minn., is the first to put one of the devices into a Minnesota patient.

Treating abnormal heart rhythms is a way to prevent sudden cardiac arrest. Doctors have also learned that 30 percent of those who suffer strokes also have a heart rhythm issue that comes and goes. Now, physicians say a device is helping them make better diagnoses by providing a long-term look at hard-to-track heart problems.

Behind the Band-Aid stuck to Steven Byboth's chest there is a new cardiac monitor, a tiny device that could provide an answer to what causes the 37-year-old to endure heart-racing episodes that have visited him.

"I start sweating, sometimes I start shaking and then I just freak out," Byboth explained. "I almost passed out a few times. I'm driving when it happens too. It's 50-50 -- either you're walking or driving."

Dr. Stephen Remole has been working with Byboth for years, but he hasn't been able to pin down the cause of the sporadic incidents. After the successful procedure to install the Medtronic Reveal Linq, he now hopes that will change. It's much smaller than the previous, thumb drive-sized model and has improved capabilities.

"This is a 6th of that size and the ability to connect wirelessly back to the office," Remole explained.

Unlike ambulatory monitors, the new implant communicates with a remote that Byboth carries with him and a data station he leaves by his bed.

"Using wireless technology, the device and [the data station] will talk once a day in the evening time," Remole said.

If Byboth has a heart-racing episode while he's out and about, he can put the remote up to his heart, click a button and a recording of the episode is transmitted to his doctor.

"This is a great opportunity to say, 'Okay, I'm having my symptom. What's going on?'" Remole said. "Maybe it's the heart, maybe it's not -- but we'll have a much better chance of finding out the answer for him."

The implant takes just 10 minutes to be put in place using a local anesthetic, and from its position beneath the skin near the breastbone, it will be able to monitor Byboth's heart activity for the next 3 years. Already, Byboth says it is giving him hope.

According to Remole, the device is best suited for those who have palpitations or irregular heartbeats that are difficult to catch since the device records episodes both manually and automatically.

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