Patients monitored outside hospital by a
Remotely Controlled Pacemaker
RITMOCORE hospitals Sant Pau and Bellvitge University Hospital pioneer a groundbreaking technique to monitor patients implanted with a pacemaker, Radio Cataluña has reported. Any abnormality detected by the device is sent directly to the hospital, so that the patient may be notified immediately. The technology helps avoid delays in treatment, therefore increasing patients’ well-being, while at the same time liberating hospital resources.
All patients implanted with a pacemaker in Sant Pau and Bellvitge Hospitals since early 2021 have been monitored remotely 24 hours a day.
“Devices have been miniaturized and are no longer wired. The pacemaker is already the size of a large pill”, says Xavier Viñolas, director of the Cardiology Department at Sant Pau Hospital.
By placing a mobile phone or similar device next to the patient, the monitoring system is activated, and the patient is then able to move freely, as long as they remain in an area with minimum phone coverage. In case an irregularity is detected, specialists at the hospital receive the information instantly. Barring any emergencies, the specialists can now store this information and treat the patient more efficiently in their next visit. Dr. Viñolas explains:
“If, for instance, a patient develops atrial fibrillation and is at risk of suffering an embolism, we will be able to detect it sooner, get in touch with them and inform them of the need to start an anticoagulant treatment to prevent this. We will have greater control, not only of the device, but of the patient’s own disease.”
The new model liberates much needed hospital resources by reducing visits to just a few minutes of consultation, which, on the other hand, can take place in simpler facilities.
“It’s not just remote control, it’s a reorganization of our whole cardiac stimulation system “, adds Dr. Viñolas.
RITMOCORE also includes other two hospitals. One is Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital in UK, which has also implemented remote monitoring for the follow-up of the patients with pacemakers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The other one is Hospital Mútua de Terrassa. Both are eager to start and implement the complete RITMOCORE model soon, which implies a full re-organization of the patient carepath, and a new relationship with manufacturers of pacemakers, moving from purchasing of devices to a value-based service.