St. Jude Medical has received European approval for the company’s AnalyST implantable defibrillator, featuring continuous ST segment monitoring, a technology that can potentially lead to more timely treatment of ischemia and prevention of myocardial infarctions. Of course, the European Union did not give St. Jude the official indication for ST monitoring, because at the present time no one really knows how to use this technology for the betterment of patients, and what to do with the data. Further studies will delineate that. But it is nice to know that we are seeing new frontiers open in the monitoring of cardiac patients.
The AnalyST ICD with ST Monitoring is the industry’s first device to continuously monitor specific changes in the heart’s electrical system which can indicate conditions such as ischemia (which occurs when the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart muscle is obstructed). Changes in the ST segment also have been linked to significant clinical events such as heart attacks. Learning about these conditions earlier may lead to more timely diagnosis and therapy for patients, and possibly improve patient prognosis.
With the device’s monitoring diagnostic, small changes in ST segment are continuously and precisely recorded and plotted, and then retrieved for the physician to review during patient follow-up visits. Because many cardiac episodes are transient in nature, continuous ST Monitoring is important because it gives physicians more comprehensive ST segment information over time rather than a sporadic, hit-or-miss diagnostic report. In the near future, physicians also will be able to monitor patients’ ST segment changes via remote transmissions from the St. Jude Medical Merlin@home transmitter (a wireless remote monitoring system in patients’ homes), and will receive alerts through the Merlin.net patient care network.
The surface electrocardiogram (ECG) has been the gold standard for diagnosing risk for heart tissue damage and arrhythmias. However, surface ECG has limitations: it provides only a few seconds of information at a time, it cannot be used to continuously monitor the patient over a long period, and it is susceptible to poor signal quality. The AnalyST ICD not only provides continuous information, but it also provides high-fidelity electrograms from the inside of the heart for accurate detection of a wide range of ST segment changes. When combined with other data available to physicians, ST segment information helps physicians make better-informed, evidence-based decisions for patient care.
In addition to the ST Monitoring diagnostic, the AnalyST ICD includes therapy enhancing St. Jude Medical features, such as:
— DeFT Response(R) technology – which is designed to help devices meet the needs of patients who may have high or varying thresholds for the amount of energy required to defibrillate the heart. This enables the physician to tailor device therapy for individual patients, offering them added protection in the event of a life-threatening arrhythmia.
— SenseAbility(R) technology – which is designed to optimize sensing to help protect against inappropriate shocks.
— Vibrating patient notifier – The industry’s only notifier that gently vibrates – instead of issuing the standard audio alert – to notify patients if the device is not performing as designed; this can be especially beneficial for people with hearing loss.