Medtronic monitoring network allows virtual office visits to doctors of cardiac patients

Minneapolis 08 May 2002In addition to providing a unique way for cardiac patients and physicians to have "virtual office visits", the Medtronic CareLink Network also is easy to use, according to the first users of the system. After patients electronically transmitted information about their heart rhythm and implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) using the Medtronic CareLink Monitor, 98 percent said the monitor was easy to use. Also, 97 percent of clinicians were satisfied with the Medtronic CareLink clinician Web site used to review and assess patient-transmitted data.


Results from the initial rollout of the Medtronic CareLink Network involving 59 patients at ten clinics were presented at the clinical trials segment of the 23rd Annual Scientific Sessions of the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology.

"CareLink significantly increases the convenience of communication between physicians and patients", stated Dr. Mark Schoenfeld, associate clinical professor of medicine at Yale University School of Medicine. "With just a few Web site clicks after a patient downloads data from his or her implantable device at home or on vacation, I can access the same type of information I would collect during an office visit and quickly offer feedback to my patients."

Of the 19 clinicians who used the Medtronic CareLink Network during the initial rollout, 97 percent said patient data received remotely allowed them to provide comparable care to an in-office visit, and 98 percent claimed the time to access the patient screen was excellent or very good.

Medtronic also has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for use of the Medtronic CareLink Monitor and software with Medtronic GEM, GEM DR and GEM III DR/VR ICDs. This approval brings the number of Americans to potentially use the Medtronic CareLink system to nearly 75.000. The FDA originally approved the monitor and software for use with GEM II DR/VR ICDs. ICDs are designed to detect and stop fast heart rates known as ventricular tachy-arrhythmias and revive patients from sudden cardiac arrest.

The Medtronic CareLink Network is intended to support a wide range of implanted cardiac devices, including Medtronic pacemakers, heart failure devices, and monitoring/diagnostic devices as they become available following subsequent FDA approvals.

"The overwhelmingly positive feedback from physician and patient users of the Medtronic CareLink Network, coupled with the FDA's approval in extending the system for use with additional devices, reinforces Medtronic's ability to deliver patient care through remote technologies", stated Steve Mahle, president of Medtronic Cardiac Rhythm Management.

The Medtronic CareLink Monitor is a small, easy-to-use device that allows patients to collect information simply by holding a small "antenna" over their implanted device. The monitor automatically downloads the data and sends it through a standard telephone connection from anywhere in the 50 states directly to the secure Medtronic CareLink Network.

Patients can view information about their devices and conditions on their own personalised Web site, and family members or other caregivers also can view this information if granted access by the patient. Clinicians access their patients' data by logging onto the clinician Web site and make decisions at any time and from anywhere via Internet-connected computer or laptop. More details can be found in the VMW April 2002 article Medtronic CareLink Network extends cardiac patient monitoring beyond clinic walls.

Leslie Versweyveld

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