Deborah center is 1st in U.S. to implant 100 Bluetooth-enabled defibrillators

The Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Browns Mill, the state’s only specialty heart, lung and vascular center, recently implanted its 100th Bluetooth-enabled defibrillator into a patient — a procedure that allows for remote monitoring for patients with abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure.

The program has grown exponentially since it began at the hospital last November. It is now available in at least a half-dozen other New Jersey hospitals, but Deborah is believed to be the first in the nation to reach the procedural milestone.

Dr. Raffaele Corbisiero, Deborah’s director of electrophysiology services, said his opinion of the procedure continues to grow.

“We are more than impressed with how useful this device has been,” he said. “We have caught numerous early-warning instances of patients with worsening conditions, which has allowed us to be proactive in managing the symptoms.

“It is so easy to use the smartphone app that patients have become more engaged in managing their own data and have been proactive on managing their own symptoms, also. This is a win-win for everyone, and I expect that this technology will be routinely used moving forward.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that as many as 6.1 million people in the U.S. battle cardiac arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms. ICDs are often recommended to help reduce the risks of life-threatening arrhythmias. For patients with heart failure or in situations when the heart’s chambers beat out of sync, CRT-Ds can be used to restore the heart’s natural pattern of beating.

This procedure can help. Here’s how the program works.

The Gallant system pairs with Abbott’s secure myMerlinPulse, an intuitive mobile smartphone application designed to help streamline communication between doctors and their patients. The app provides access to data, device performance and transmission history, which helps people take an active role in their health care. Through the myMerlinPulse app, physicians can continuously monitor their patients remotely, allowing for identification of asymptomatic episodes as well as patient-triggered transmissions, which can lead to earlier intervention.

Corbisiero said Deborah — an alliance member of the Cleveland Clinic Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute — is fortunate to have the technology.

“This is the next step forward in supporting our heart arrhythmia patients, and as a way of further bonding the patient-physician relationship. Having an immediate feedback loop through a patient’s smartphone provides a major step forward in staying ahead of any worsening conditions,” Corbisiero said. “This will be a tremendous health benefit to our patients, as well as providing a very convenient option for remote monitoring of their heart health.”