A simple new device that monitors heart rhythms could save the health care system millions of dollars by eliminating the need for follow up care, according to results of a study released Saturday by Scripps Health.
Dr. Steven Higgins of Scripps Health presented the findings of testing on the Zio Patch, which resembles a 2-inch by 5- inch adhesive bandage, to the Heart Rhythm Society’s 33rd annual Scientific Sessions in Boston.
The study involved 285 patients who went to emergency rooms at three hospitals – including in La Jolla – with possible arrhythmia symptoms like fainting, palpitations and dizziness. Of those sent home with the Zio Patch, it turned out 59 percent didn't have arrhythmia – an irregular heartbeat – and didn't need further help.
“Thus, the new device has the potential to save the health care system millions of dollars,” Higgins said.
The wireless Zio Patch sticks onto a person's chest and monitors the heartbeat until it falls off.
“The patch is applied and when recording is done, the patient simply drops it in the envelope and returns it through the mail – it's like the Netflix of heart care,” said Higgins, chairman of the department of cardiology at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and a lead investigator.
“Because they are infrequent, heart rhythm problems are often difficult to diagnose, even though they can be quite serious,” Higgins said. “The Zio Patch is a new digital advance that will allow us to better diagnose challenging cases so we can provide our patients the best care.”
The hospital said Kenneth Curzon, a La Jolla resident who fainted at work in March, wore a Zio Patch for two weeks, and it found pauses in his heart rhythm of more than three seconds and episodes of rapid heart beat. He was given an implantable cardiac defibrillator on April 6 to correct the problem and was back working within five days.
“I like to think of the whole experience as an adventure,” Curzon said. “Most of the time I didn't even realize I was wearing a heart monitor, and when I peeled it off, I just put it in an envelope and sent it off in the mail.”
The Zio Patch was created by iRhythm Technologies Inc.
The other medical facilities that took part in the study were Stanford Hospital and Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas.
–City News Service