Bluetooth Pacemakers Offer Convenience and Cost Savings

Texas Health providing innovative technology for patients suffering from arrhythmia

ARLINGTON, Texas – December 19, 2017 — Smart technology has become the norm, from devices catering to your needs at home, to vehicles guiding your route along unfamiliar roadways. Richard Sanchez opted for technology that navigates more than his path from inside a car. After being diagnosed with symptomatic bradycardia with syncope, a heart rhythm disorder that leads to fainting spells, Sanchez now has a Bluetooth-enabled pacemaker that keeps his heart beating at a normal rate.

Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth is one of the first hospitals in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to offer the innovative technology to patients. It allows patients to share pertinent information with their doctors anywhere, at any time. Previous technologies allowed patients to connect via computer with their doctors using a stationary bedside monitor and a phone landline; but now, patients connect wirelessly using a hand-held monitor, along with an application downloaded to a smartphone or tablet.

“Richard had a recurrently low heart rate, and his rhythm disorder was causing him to pass out,” said Dr. Aleem Mughal, a cardiac electrophysiologist on the Texas Health Fort Worth medical staff. Mughal implanted Sanchez’s pacemaker on Dec. 7 at Texas Health Fort Worth.

Taking less than two hours to implant, the dual-chamber, Bluetooth-enabled pacemaker connects to the heart’s right atrium and right ventricle. Making sure both the upper and lower chambers work together, the pacemaker establishes a controlled rhythm by emitting mild electrical pulses, which allows proper blood-flow between the chambers.

“It’s smart medicine for your heart,” Mughal said. “Having an application that offers convenience, reduces healthcare costs and allows people with pacemakers to remain mobile, is technology that benefits the patient and the physician.”

According to Mughal, the device cuts down the number of routine doctor visits, because patients can download heart data and check the pacemaker’s effectiveness by using the device’s unique Bluetooth technology, wherever they are.

“Let’s say Richard is at home watching his prized Dallas Cowboys and suddenly feels dizzy again. That could be alarming,” Mughal said. “With this technology, he can easily send information to me, and I’ll be able to determine if he needs to simply rest or immediately head to the hospital.”

Using a small, hand-held “reader,” the patient places the device close to his chest. The device quickly sends detailed information, via Bluetooth technology, to the doctor.

“The last time I passed out was at church, which is a good thing. I was surrounded by caring individuals who knew what to do,” said 69-year-old Sanchez. “But now I have the pacemaker, and I feel more at ease. It will help keep my heart beating the way it’s supposed to, and my doctor will immediately know if something’s not right.”

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, close to 900,000 people like Sanchez receive a pacemaker every year. And at Texas Health Dallas, cardiologists offer yet another device using smart technology. The Bluetooth biventricular pacemaker, also called a cardiac resynchronization therapy device, connects to the right atrium, along with the left and right ventricles. Helping the heart pump blood more efficiently, this particular pacemaker also helps both ventricles pump in sync.

Over the past six months, cardiac electrophysiologists such as Dr. Charles Lampe, on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and with Texas Health Physicians Group (THPG), have prescribed more than 10 Bluetooth-enabled biventricular pacemakers to patients. Normally, a diagnostic evaluation will determine which type of pacemaker will address a patient’s needs best.

“If I have a patient suffering from arrhythmia caused by advanced heart failure, I might discuss using a cardiac resynchronization device instead of the dual pacemaker,” Lampe said, a member of Presbyterian Heart & Vascular Group Dallas, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice. “But with either Bluetooth-enabled device, the patient is afforded more freedom, because they’re not tethered to a monitoring device at the bedside every night. It’s all connected wirelessly, and that’s innovation helping both of us.”

If you’re unsure of your heart risks, learn about Texas Health’s Heart Screening Program. For more information about cardiac care, visit Texas Health’s Heart & Vascular Services.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States. The health system, which along with UT Southwestern founded Southwestern Health Resources in 2016 to make it easier for North Texans to access the highest quality care consistently in a responsive and coordinated manner, includes 29 hospital locations that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with Texas Health Resources. It includes Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Huguley Hospitals, Texas Health Physicians Group, outpatient facilities, behavioral health and home health, preventive and fitness services, and an organization for medical research and education. For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit www.TexasHealth.org.

SOURCE: Texas Health