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Health Team

New implant gives advanced warning of a heart attack

Posted April 6, 2011 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated April 7, 2011 2:45 p.m. EDT

— An implant device now in clinical trials promises to warn a patient of a heart attack before it happens.

Rex Hospital is enrolling patients in a trial of the AngelMed Guardian System.

The AngelMed Guardian looks like a pacemaker. It communicates with an external device and constantly monitors the heart for changes that indicate a heart attack might be hours, days or even a week away.

“Any changes of significance, it can alert the patient by vibrations or by a light on the device itself,” Rex electrophysiologist Dr. Sameh Mobarek said.

Mobarek said early treatment can prevent a heart attack and the damage that could follow.

Just like a pacemaker implant, a single lead goes through a major vein under the collar bone and straight to the heart.

Rex is the only trial site in the state, and Katherine Breedlove is its first implant participant.

Heart disease runs in Breedlove's family. In another month, Breedlove’s daughter, Melissa Faulkner, will undergo the same procedure.

“I think it will give us both a lot more peace of mind,” Breedlove said.

The Rex Hospital trial is looking for candidates who have had a heart attack or open-heart surgery within the past six months.

Anyone interested in taking part in the trial should contact Joyce Vito, of Rex Hospital, at 919-710-0982 or by e-mail at joyce.vito@rexhealth.com.