Morning Mix


AngelMed Guardian System warns patients when they’re having a heart attack

Posted at 10:40 AM, Nov 22, 2019

Spectrum Health is the top enrolling site in the country for patients to be part of the ALERTS study, a multicenter trial of a new implantable device that can warn patients when they are having a heart attack. Spectrum Health hopes to be among the first in the nation to offer the treatment to its patients so they can save lives before it's too late.

Dr. David Wohns, cardiology division chief at Spectrum Health, was the principal investigator at the top enrolling site of the ALERTS study. He stopped by to talk about what the device does and how it's been improving overall health in the cardiology field.

The AngelMed Guardian® System is an implantable monitoring device that may benefit those suffering from high-risk cardiac disease. The Guardian System includes a cardiac monitoring and alerting device that is implanted like a pacemaker, which monitors the heart’s electrical signal 24 hours a day.

Spectrum Health found that the alarms significantly reduced the time from onset of symptoms to arrival for treatment at a medical facility. The more quickly medical facilities can offer treatment to the patient the greater the chances of survival. Delays in treatment contribute to the high level of mortality and morbidity from heart attacks.

Each year there are about 1.2 million annual heart attacks in the nation. About one-third of victims will die within a year, and half of those will die before reaching the hospital. Spectrum Health says each 30-minute delay in treatment equates to a 7.5 percent increase in mortality, so time is of the essence.

Symptoms such as chest pain are a poor predictor, with less than 20 percent of patients presenting to the emergency room having a heart attack or other cardiac event. Plus, only one-third of heart attacks have atypical or no symptoms, so many people are unaware they're having a heart attack.

The ALERTS study demonstrated a reduced rate of false positives and better identified asymptomatic ACS events, prompting the user to seek medical attention.

Spectrum Health hopes to make the device available to patients in early 2020. Patients can discuss eligibility with a cardiologist.

For more information, go to their website or call 855-7MYHEART.