Your smart phone can now be a remote monitoring device for your heart. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved the first smart phone compatible insertable cardiac monitor (ICM) for use in the USA. The Confirm Rx ICM manufactured by Abbott Labs is implanted under the skin in a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. Since receiving CE Mark approval in Europe in early 2017, the ICM is currently available in over 10 countries. (“Conformité Européene” (CE) is a designation for products sold within the European Union that meets with their standards for health, safety and the environment.)
No more awkward handhelds or passive bedside transmitters are needed because the ICM works via Bluetooth with the free “myMerlin” mobile app which allows patients and their doctors to continuously monitor for abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) such as atrial fibrillation, syncope (fainting spells) and palpitations.
MyMerlin allows patients to record their symptoms and notify their doctors of serious events such as fainting or fast heart rates through real-time data transmissions. All wireless communications on the myMerlin app are encrypted for security.
In our previous blog article, Atrial Fibrillation and Chocolate Therapy—How Sweet It Is!, we discuss what atrial fibrillation is and why it needs to be monitored. It is a serious condition in which the upper heart chambers beat irregularly and contract ineffectively. A clot forms in the upper chambers and can break off to enter the general circulation. A stroke may be the result. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 15–20% of people who have strokes have heart arrhythmias.
Doctors can also monitor patients with a patch which is temporary but an ICM is permanent. Thanks to its size and advanced technology, the Confirm RX ICM will not only help monitor serious cardiac conditions but also aid doctors in developing treatment plans, and thanks to their smart phones, patients will have the freedom and mobility they didn’t have before with traditional monitoring equipment.