A heart monitor, Bluetooth technology and your smart phone combine to save lives

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - There is a brand new heart monitor that uses Bluetooth technology to monitor your heart rhythm and report it to your doctor.

Lexington Medical Center just recently placed the first one in South Carolina and it's already proving to be lifesaving.

69-year-old Vann Gunter currently teaches business at Midlands Technical College. Vann became part of the Midlands Tech family in 1975 and for numerous years served as Vice President of Corporate and Continuing Education.

"I really like the students, dealing with the students, seeing them day to day. And the interaction, that's what kind of helps keep me young," Vann said.

Vann feels young at heart, but his heart is not acting that way.

"I had been having problems for years and I've had a number of ablations done. Just didn't know what was going on."

After several issues and several tests, his cardiologist, Dr. Amy Epps of Lexington Cardiology, last month inserted this device called Confirm RX. It is the world's first smartphone-enabled insertable cardiac monitor.

"It detects your heart rate and your heart rhythm and has the ability to send signals out through Bluetooth technology to the device company which is Saint Jude to let us know if you are having an abnormal rhythm," Dr. Epps said.

Placed under the skin, it has Smartphone connectivity and reduces the need for a bedside or handheld monitor attachment.

"And that gets a little cumbersome because you have to carry around the battery pack and you have to write things down and then we don't know necessarily what you're having until you turn it back in," Dr. Epps said.

Confirm RX is the first of its kind heart monitor. Lexington Medical Center cardiologists placed the first one in South Carolina a few weeks ago and doctors like that the results from the technology are immediate.

"The second day I had it implanted, that night I started having lots of heart issues - racing heart, faint feeling, just didn't feel right. And so I was able to pull up the app, mark what was going on, send it to Dr. Amy Epps and I knew that she would get it. I did that three times over five hour period," Vann said.

As a result of the immediate feedback, Dr. Epps contacted Vann and told him it was time to do something.

"He was given an alert over his smartphone and the company was given an alert and contacted him and they contacted me and then we were able to move forward to treat him."

Dr. Epps removed the Confirm RX device and implanted a pacemaker. If needed for some patients, the device can be left in place 3 to 4 years.

Contrary to what some patients may fear, the Confirm RX is not a GPS tracker.  Patients and doctors find the technology is very user-friendly so even those not tech-savvy can use it easily.

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