Rex study tests new heart device

The AngelMed Guardian System is implanted under the skin (Image courtesy AngleMed)
August 16, 2011 1:21:12 PM PDT
Sixty-four-year-old Kay Breedlove and her 42-year-old daughter Melissa Faulkner have a strong family history of heart disease.

"My mother and my daddy both had heart disease and my mother died from it," said Breedlove.

Both women have undergone heart bypass surgery in the past and now they're both part of a new study at Rex Hospital testing the AngelMed Guardian System.

It's an implantable cardiac monitor and altering system that's designed to warn patients when they're having a medical emergency so they can get help faster.

"It's monitoring your heart beat continuously second by second, minute by minute, and if there's any deviation from the norm, then it can alert the patient that a heart attack is pending," explained Rex cardiologist Dr. Sam Mobarek.

Rex is one of 50 centers around that county with patients considered "high risk" participating in the study.

"You already have some coronary event in the past - whether you have a heart attack, a bypass surgery, plus [some] other high risk feature," explained Mobarek.

Doctors put the patient under sedation, and AngelMed is sewn under the skin. A wire from the device is passed through a vein and into the heart muscle.

Patients typically go home the same day.

The AngelMed Guardian System has been approved for use in Brazil and will soon be released in Europe. It's in a Phase II clinical trial across the U.S. and has not yet been proven to warn against heart attack - meaning it may be one or two more years before the system receives FDA approval here.

Breedlove and Faulkner say they're happy to be of research that could ultimately save their lives.

"I rest better when I go to bed at night. I don't worry about it during the day cause I feel this, this beeper that I wear will caution me and let me know when something is going wrong," said Breedlove.

"I thank God everyday for the blessing he's given me and my family - my mom and I, and hopefully my sister will do it one day, because it is a peace of mind," said Faulkner.

More information about the AngelMed Guardian System can be found at www.angel-med.com.

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