Changes in Cardiac Care

It used to be that if your heart was “acting funny” you were put in the hospital on a monitor and stuck in one unit in the hospital. Different drugs were tried on you, and you had to stay directly on that unit while someone sat at a desk and tried to capture that “funny” activity on a strip of paper.

We now have technology that allows much more freedom, both for the patient while the heart trouble is being diagnosed, and in the treatments that are available.

Patients are no longer stuck on one unit in a hospital while staff try to catch and document the funny electrical activity. A patient wears a holter monitor that is recording the hearts activity for 24 hours or longer while they continue on with their normal activities of daily living.

If the electrical activity turns out to be a conduction problem, the patient can undergo ablation therapy. This involves putting wires into the heart and stimulating the different pathways of the heart until the one that is causing the interruption is identified. At that point the pathway is ablated, cutting off the pathway. This is all done using computers to analyze the data from the heart.

If the patient does end up in the hospital, the nurse is no longer tied to the desk if they want to watch the patient’s cardiac activity. A patient’s telemetry unit now can be transmitted to small computers that the nurse carries with her as she goes about doing her usual duties. At any time the nurse can check the patient’s status. The small computer will also notify the nurse if it identifies a rhythm that is unusual.

These advances not only help with patient management, but also increase the safety of patient care.

Online Healthcare Informatics Educational Certificate Program

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