The Sleuth Implantable ECG Monitoring System, a thin medical device about the size of a 50-cent piece, is placed under the skin near the shoulder. The device continuously gathers ECG data, and then automatically and regularly forwards it to a monitoring center. There, certified cardiac technicians review the patient’s ECG information and send reports of relevant cardiac event data to the physician.
“The Sleuth system is a new advance in obtaining accurate, thorough ECG data for diagnosing unexplained fainting,” said Dr. Pham. “The wireless system and long data storage cycle will provide me with the ECG information to potentially diagnose unexplained events accurately, regardless of the patient’s activities or whereabouts.”
Significant advantages for patients and physicians are that the monitoring system is wireless, and technicians at the monitoring center automatically receive patient data thereby allowing them to frequently review the information for irregularities. By using this system patients and physicians no longer need to wait for periodically scheduled office visits, typically every three months, to obtain diagnostic data.
Dr. Pham adds, “The Sleuth system is remarkably simple to use, beginning with the minimally invasive procedure to implant the device, easy programming for me and hassle-free monitoring for patients. The compact antenna gives me greater flexibility in selecting the implant site.”
About Cardiovascular Syncope
The risk of syncope increases with age and is becoming more common as the population ages. Syncope accounted for 3 percent of emergency room visits and 6 percent of hospital admissions in the United States in 2004. Syncope can be caused by a variety of conditions, including metabolic disorders, neurological conditions, emotional distress or cardiovascular conditions. Cardiovascular syncope can be especially challenging to diagnose because abnormal heart activity may be infrequent or not apparent to the patient. Conditions causing cardiovascular syncope include prior heart attack, heart failure, rhythm disturbances, obstructed blood flow and low blood pressure.
Dr. Scott Pham received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota and is fellowship trained in cardiovascular disease and electrophysiology. He holds three board certifications in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease and electrophysiology. Dr. Pham is the chief of cardiology for The Sanford School of Medicine of The University of South Dakota.
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