What is an implantable monitor?
The Medtronic Reveal® Implantable Monitor is a revolutionary breakthrough for the investigation of patients with fainting attacks. If you suffer from recurrent fainting spells or other transient symptoms such as unexplained recurrent palpitations, light headedness, or dizziness, and your doctors have been unable to determine the cause, this device may offer new hope by providing answers that can lead to effective treatment.
Smaller than a pack of chewing gum, the Reveal Implantable Monitor is inserted just beneath the skin in the upper chest area.
The Reveal device continuously monitors the rate and rhythm of the heart. It works much like a black box in an airplane; vital information is recorded during the actual fainting episode and can be played back later for detailed analysis. The Reveal can continuously record the heart's rate and rhythm for up to 14 months.
To capture and store the electrocardiogram (ECG) as it occurred at the time of the fainting episode, a patient places a hand-held, pager-sized Activator over the Reveal device after waking from an episode, and presses a button. A family member or friend also can be the one to place the Activator over the patient's device to save the information. It is important for the patient to keep the Activator handy at all times (clipped to the clothes or looped over a belt). Later, your doctor or technician analyses the stored information and determines whether the fainting episode was caused by an abnormal heart rhythm. Once the cause of the fainting episodes have been diagnosed, the device is removed and treatment can be started.
The Reveal captures your ECG during the actual fainting episode, which allows your doctor to confirm or rule out an abnormal heart rhythm more definitively than other tests. It monitors the heart rhythm continuously for up to 14 months, increasing the likelihood of capturing heart rhythm information during an infrequent fainting episode. Furthermore if the cause of the faints turns out not to be due to a heart rhythm abnormality, it will enable your doctor to focus more aggressively on other possible causes. Most important, diagnosing the cause of fainting can lead to effective treatment
Implanting the Reveal Monitor takes about 15 to 20 minutes and can be done under a local anesthetic. The doctor makes an incision about 2 cm. in length (3/4 of an inch), creating a pocket the same size and shape as the Reveal Insertable Monitor. Once the device is inserted in the pocket, it is programmed to record the ECG during a fainting episode.
When heart activity is recorded during an actual fainting spell, and your doctor is satisfied that heart rhythm-related causes can be ruled in or out, the device is removed.