New heart monitors to better serve the region

To better serve rural communities on the Palouse, Gritman Cardiac Rehabilitation now offers two new heart monitors. These monitors not only provide more accurate, real-time results to physicians, they also shorten patient wait times.

The old monitoring systems, made of patches of electrodes with wires, required patients to press a button when they were experiencing symptoms of a cardiac event. This often meant patients missed the split-second symptoms or did not physically feel the symptoms and were unable to document them.

The new systems offer continuous wireless monitoring that can easily be set up at Gritman. Patients wear the devices around-the-clock for 14 or 30 days during all their normal activities, such as sleeping, showering and working out.

The 14-day monitor is used in lower risk situations and can be worn for a shorter duration than traditional monitors because the results are being collected even if the patient is not presenting symptoms.

The 30-day monitor is used in more high-risk situations because the results are available in real time. The cardiologist and ordering physician receive a notification if the patient is experiencing an emergency. When using this monitor, patients are given a cell phone that transmits the results and allows them to mark and document their symptoms.

Once completed, the tests go to Kootenai Heart Clinics Northwest. There a Cardiologist will read the test and the results are sent back to the physician that ordered it. This is a great benefit for individuals who have local physicians and may not be able to travel out of the area to see a cardiologist. It is also available for patients with out-of-town physicians. Those physicians may order the test and have it administered locally, saving the patient a trip out of town to see their doctor.

When a patient is finished with their 14-day or 30-day monitoring period, the device can be shipped back by mail, saving patients a trip into the hospital.

Patients can also expect shorter wait times because once a patient receives a device, another one is sent to replenish the stock at Gritman Cardiac Rehabilitation.

If you think you could benefit from one of these monitors, ask your primary care provider for more information.