Medical Devices & Technology

Medical Devices & Technology Articles

Managing mitral valve disease: Progress and promise

Severe mitral valve disease happens when the mitral valve can’t close properly, causing blood to flow backward during heartbeats. Common symptoms include breathlessness, fatigue, cough, and swollen feet or ankles. Most cases are treated with open-heart or minimally invasive surgery. But a catheter-based device called MitraClip can repair some faulty valves. And a number of other devices—including some that can replace the entire valve—are under development. (Locked) More »

Rating heart monitors

One of the most valuable health and fitness technologies is a heart rate monitor—a device that instantly tells how fast the heart is beating. Whether someone has just begun an exercise routine or already is a committed fitness enthusiast, tracking the heart rate can help maintain the necessary moderate level of intensity for optimal benefits. It also can help people who have to be extra careful about overexertion, such as those recovering from a heart problem, surgery, or injury. (Locked) More »

Harnessing big data to help the heart

Advanced technologies are beginning to transform doctors’ ability to screen for cardiovascular disease. Examples include the analysis of data from smartphones and other devices using machine learning to predict a person’s risk of disease. Two promising applications include retina scans to predict heart disease and pulse monitoring with a smartwatch to detect atrial fibrillation, a common cause of stroke. Possible future applications include capturing varied data from electronic health records, such as electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, blood test results, and genetic information. (Locked) More »

Choosing and using a home blood pressure monitor

Using a home blood pressure monitor can help people manage their condition more effectively, especially if they are taking several different drugs while trying to reach their blood pressure target. When choosing a monitor, people should select one with a well-fitting, self-inflating cuff that goes around the upper arm and a digital readout that’s easy to read. Some monitors feature a cord that plugs into a smartphone; others can transfer their data wirelessly to a smartphone or computer. The blood pressure readings can then be transmitted to physicians. (Locked) More »

Don’t fear pacemakers

The likelihood of needing a pacemaker increases with age, but it is no longer the scary device it once was. Pacemakers have evolved from fixing irregular heartbeats to helping the heart mimic normal function, which can help many older men with certain heart conditions stay more active longer. (Locked) More »

Taking a look at the latest trends in heart rhythm monitoring

Bulky external devices with many wires that record a person’s heart rhythm for several days or longer are being replaced by small patches and implanted devices. The patches, which resemble large Band-Aids, are placed on the chest and can record heart activity up to 30 days. Their main role is for people with frequent palpitations. The internal devices, called implantable loop recorders, are inserted under the skin to the left of the breastbone and work for about three years. They are mainly used to help diagnose people with unexplained fainting or strokes. Some of these new devices can transmit data wirelessly in real time to a doctor. (Locked) More »