IN just one minute, St John of God cardiologist Dr John Van Den Broek can potentially prevent a heart attack or stroke.
On Friday, Dr Van Den Broek carried out one of the first Victorian implants of the world’s smallest cardiac monitor – about one-third the size of a tripe-A battery – capable of wirelessly diagnosing heart rhythm disorders.
Called an implantable cardiac monitor, the tiny machine is inserted under the skin of the chest via an injectable tool, with the patient only requiring a local anaesthetic.
“It’s been difficult to diagnose some of the symptoms related to the heart,” Dr Van Den Broek said.
He said these intermittent symptoms included blackouts and palpitations and were often wrongly diagnosed as epilepsy.
Now, the readings can be monitored 24/7 via a machine in the patient’s home, with Dr Van Den Broek alerted to any problems by text message or email.
“I will know immediately if there are any rhythm problems.”
If a patient also feels an issue with their heart, they can hold a mouse-like device over their chest and ask it to record the previous 15 to 20 minutes of rhythms.
Dr Van Den Broek has implanted about 50 cardiac monitors over the past nine years, but they have all been a much larger model without the wireless capabilities.