When Joy Turpie of The Villages, Florida experienced a second near fainting spell while line dancing she knew something wasn’t right. These two episodes, which came on suddenly and with no other warning, prompted her to visit the emergency department at The Villages Regional Hospital.
There she received a number of diagnostic tests, the results of which led her to visit with her cardiologist who diagnosed her with a cardiac arrhythmia. Turpie was then referred to an Electrophysiologist, a type of physician who is often described as an “electrician” for the heart, to discuss her treatment options. Given the option to treat her arrhythmia with a minimally invasive procedure known as cardiac ablation or through medication and monitoring, she chose the latter and became the first patient at The Villages Regional Hospital to have the Medtronic Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitor (ICM) implanted. The Medtronic Reveal LINQ is the smallest implantable cardiac monitoring device available and The Villages Regional Hospital and Leesburg Regional Medical Center are the first hospitals in the region to successfully implant the device.
This type of cardiac monitoring is an option for patients who experience symptoms such as dizziness, palpitation, syncope (fainting) and chest pain that may suggest a cardiac arrhythmia and for patients at increased risk for cardiac arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation. Those experiencing any of these symptoms should talk with their primary care physician or cardiologist for more information.
Placed just beneath the skin, through a small incision of less than one centimeter in the upper left side of the chest, the Medtronic Reveal LINQ is often nearly invisible to the naked eye once inserted. The device is placed using a minimally invasive insertion procedure and generally with only local anesthesia while the patient is awake and responsive. This simplifies the experience for both patients and their physicians.
Turpie, who prior to receiving the implantable monitor had worn an external device, known as an event monitor or “Holter monitor,” said the new implant has been much more convenient. “The other monitor was always in the way, I couldn’t sleep or take a shower with it on and line dancing was out of the question,” said Turpie. “When you reattach the leads of the Holter monitor by yourself you’re never really sure if they’re in the right place.” The implantable monitor simply eliminates these problems.
A traditional event monitor can be worn for up to 30 days and then has to be returned to a patient’s physician so the information can be retrieved. The new Medtronic Reveal LINQ (ICM) has a battery life of up to three years and can wirelessly transmit a patients’ diagnostic data to their clinicians from nearly any location in the world. In addition, physicians can request notifications to alert them if their patients have had cardiac events.
“Utilizing this new device means patients, in many cases, no longer have to be tethered to a bulky piece of monitoring equipment and physicians can receive the timely data they need to better care for their patients,” says Rosie Reiner, Administrative Director Cardiology Co-Management at The Villages Regional Hospital. “The implantable cardiac monitor also gives our patients the freedom to live an active life style within the limits set by their physician.”
With medication and monitoring, Turpie has done exactly that and is back to line dancing four to five times a week. She has yet to have another episode and takes comfort in realizing the monitor and her physicians are looking for signs of another event. Whether the medication resolves her arrhythmia or not is something that will take more time and consistent monitoring to answer. However, knowing the device is there and transmitting important data to her physician’s office offers Turpie something she says the event monitors did not. “Peace of mind, and a lot of it.”