dr. allan skanes (left) and dr. lorne gula


LHSC cardiologists first in North America to implant device that continuously monitors heart rhythm for atrial fibrillation

Dr. Lorne Gula and Dr. Allan Skanes, cardiologists at London Health Sciences Centre, were the first in North America to implant an insertable cardiac monitor that offers long-term and continuous monitoring for atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia.

The diagnosis of atrial fibrillation can be difficult as episodes may have no symptoms and may therefore go unnoticed by patients. But the medical risks are well known: atrial fibrillation can lead to a two to seven times higher risk of stroke, and an increased risk of heart failure if rapid heart rates persist undetected for long periods of time.

Thanks to this innovation, "Canadian cardiac patients now have access to long-term, continuous monitoring of atrial fibrillation," says Dr. Lorne Gula, who implanted the device on March 20, 2008. "Patients with atrial fibrillation will now have additional peace of mind, knowing they are being monitored 24 hours a day." The device provides the cardiologist with detailed information that can be used in decisions regarding treatment.

Developed and manufactured by Medtronic, the new RevealŪ XT insertable cardiac monitoring device is the next generation in cardiac monitoring. The original development was accomplished by Dr. George Klein, a cardiologist at London Health Sciences Centre, jointly with Medtronic more than 10 years ago with the Reveal® Insertable Loop Recorder.

"It's a good feeling to know that the device is monitoring my condition," said Gregory Thorp, 52, the first patient to receive the device. "I feel very lucky to be able to take advantage of this new cutting edge technology."

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