Lifewatch: Atrial fibrillation monitor

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - Your heart is the size of two fists, beats about 100,000 times a day, and is about 78% water.

If your heart beats a lot more or less you could be suffering from a condition called atrial fibrillation and not even know it.

Doctors have now found a way to monitor patients' hearts from miles away.

Max Bucey's heart could be racing even when he takes it easy.

"I had some sensations above my left side, some flashes," said Max.  "I got in the car. I kept going straight. Apparently I passed out. I was on the wrong side of the road and I hit a telephone poll."

Max just described when he suffered a stroke.  Months later doctors wanted to know what caused it, so they implanted a monitoring device into Max's chest.

"We're doing this study really to prevent from recurrence of stroke," said Dr. Mahmoud Houmsse of the Ohio State University Medical Center.

The device will alert doctors when Max's heart is speeding up or slowing down.

"It has a sensor and senses the heart rhythm and sends that wirelessly to base collecting data and also to hand-held devices," said Houmsse.

Learning what caused Max's stroke will help reduce the risk of suffering another one.  For now, Max is watching his diet and cutting back on salt.

"In the last 5 weeks I've lost 26 pounds," said Max.

For those who are always on the go, there are no restrictions on how far a patient can travel with the monitoring device.