McDowell hospital's new holter monitoring equipment is enhancing physicians' ability to diagnose and treat heart disease. A holter monitor is a device that a patient wears on their waistband for 24 hours. The monitor uses electrodes attached to the patient's chest to record the heart's electrical activity for 24 hours while the patient performs their usual activities at home or at work.
The local hospital has used holter monitoring equipment for years, but the newest equipment is easier to use and more convenient for patients because the monitoring device is smaller (just a bit larger than a pager) than what was previously used.
"The new equipment is also capturing better information about the heart's activity than what was recorded with the older equipment," said Shelly Selby, director of cardiopulmonary services.
Report forwarded to patient's physician
The information recorded by the monitor is sent to a computer, which generates a report forwarded to the patient's physician.
With the new monitoring equipment, McDowell hospital can also use event recorders to further monitor the health status of individuals with heart disorders. The event recorder is worn for 30 days and activated by the patient when they feel their heart beating irregularly. The recording assists the patient's physician in diagnosing arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, in the patient's heart.
As director of cardiopulmonary services, Selby is overseeing the new Heart Failure Education Program. That program is helping individuals with heart failure to manage their disease so that they can enjoy a better quality of life.
The program uses a multidisciplinary approach for managing heart failure in patients. Services include frequent follow-up on patients, support to patients and their families, patient education and assistance with medical prescriptions.
"The heart failure program takes a 'whole person' approach in the treatment of patients," Selby said.
Patients must be referred for services by their physician.
"Through the heart failure program, we are making a huge impact in the quality of life of our patients who have congestive heart failure," Selby said.