The monitoring of the electrocardiogram is an essential tool in clinical care. From feeling a simple pulse to the intricacies of an intracellular action potential, that ‘lub dub’ is synonymous with the very essence of life.
But enough about high science and ECGs, let’s talk about that other essential aspect of life: the smartphone.
We have seen the utility of the smartphone expand into clinical medicine with the development of AliveCor’s smartphone ECG and its KardiaBand arrhythmia detection. And now we are seeing the next step in technology trends entering the medical mainstream.
Introducing Confirm Rx, Abbott’s implantable device—directly under the skin—that continuously monitors a patient’s ECG and interfaces with a smartphone to send data to healthcare provider. Now here’s my point: it’s less a device that doesn’t require surgical implantation, and more a small, chip-like device that is easily inserted and reflects today’s trend to dermal chips. Yes, think a bit like the trendy consumer microchips or even the one you currently might have in your pet. Abbott’s new ‘chip’ is a certainly larger in size, but represents a new modality for ECG monitoring of patients. From size to patient and physician convenience, Confirm Rx helps establish the utility of small, implantable chip-like’ devices’ that provide valuable clinical information.
- About the size of a paperclip.
- Two year battery life.
- Smartphone connected without the need for a home-based transmitter.
- Proactive data transmitted by the app as per a schedule set by the clinician.
Another key consideration is implantation. Using a simple insertion tool, the device has been designed for easy insertion and taking just minutes.
The devices are inserted quickly, with easily to use tools, in a sterile environment. They are particularly useful to diagnose rare events, which may be missed by more cumbersome wearable monitors. Insertable monitors may also be useful to diagnosis occult rhythm problems that have not shown other physical symptoms.
Michael Katz MD, Electrophysiologist, Morristown Medical Center
Many are quick to point out that this monitoring data carries with it many issues and even potential complaints. More data can make for even more complicated patient care and health care professionals can be burdened with excessive and non-contributory information. And while this might be the case, we still need to recognize that these innovations might not perfectly align with utility. Simply, these innovations are just ahead of their time.
Small is certainly here. It’s my sense that Confirm Rx is an initial step toward smaller and smaller devices that will resemble the microchip we see in labs and science fiction movies today. Further, the opportunity to evaluate real-time, real-world, at-home data can establish the chance for big data and artificial intelligence chance to scrutinize cardiac rhythms to reveal new insights into prognostic information. From R-R variability to morning catecholamine surges, these new data can be very powerful tools for care and research. ECGs will only be part of the tracking, as new biomarkers and analytics combine with sensitive microchip technology to advance cardiac care and save lives. (Click to Source)
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