The Hospital expands program to monitor heart irregularities in real-time

The Hospital expands program to monitor heart irregularities in real-time

February 26, 2020 – Arnprior Regional Health (ARH) has expanded technology available to meet the growing need to monitor more patients’ heart irregularities in real-time. This best ensures issues are captured instantly and patients get the right care and treatment to prevent a heart event from happening.

As a best practice, ARH provides patients with cardiac holter monitors that they wear over a 3 to 14-day monitoring period in order to detect hard-to-catch irregularities that weren’t captured during their time at the hospital. ARH uses the real-time monitors instead of the traditional models used by other centres, which require patients to bring the unit in for their results to be processed and interpreted – taking up to three weeks.

Laurie Jack benefited from a cardiac holter monitor in summer 2018.

“It gives everyone involved peace of mind, provides an option to discharge a patient home safely, helping to shorten length of stay in hospital in some instances,” said Vicki Hallas, Manager, Diagnostic Imaging, ARH. “This technology helps our team prevent cardiac events.”

Laurie Jack, a local Arnprior resident in her fifties, benefited form the real-time cardiac holter monitor in summer 2018. After experiencing her heart racing numerous times, she had a stress test and echocardiogram at ARH that didn’t determine what was wrong. Her physician gave her the monitor to wear over the next week in order to pick up the irregularity. As soon as the monitor captured Laurie’s heart issue, she was notified by the call centre and met with her ARH physician who explained she had atrial fibrillation and was prescribed medication.

“It was nice to know that if I experienced any problems with my heart, the monitor would pick it up and I wouldn’t be alone,” Laurie said. “Because of the monitor, we knew right away what the issue was without a long wait time.”

With the growing demand for the 14-day monitor, ARH has added new units to ensure patients have immediate access. Since the real-time monitors were introduced in 2018, they have been used by patients approximately 880 times. Patients may be given a monitor through the Emergency Department, outpatient clinics, or the inpatient unit upon discharge if they report experiencing palpitations, extreme fatigue, or dizziness, for example, and the issue has not been detected through diagnostics.

The real-time monitors are covered by OHIP, managed through the Ottawa Cardiovascular Centre and include 24/7 customer support for the patient.  When a heart irregularity is picked up by the monitor, the patient receives a call with instructions about their next steps i.e. go to nearest hospital, call an ambulance.

“They’re amazing, you can’t get better than real-time, “said Trish Headrick, electrocardiography technician. “You don’t have to worry about patients because they’re closely monitored, and you know they’ll be well supported and cared for if needed.”

About Arnprior Regional Health

Arnprior Regional Health (ARH) is a progressive 105-bed organization that includes a fully accredited community hospital, nursing home, primary health care centre and extensive community programs. ARH is a regional hub with a strong history of providing exemplary care to the residents of West Ottawa, McNab/Braeside, Arnprior and Mississippi Mills. As your partner in health, ARH is committed to listening to and responding to meet the needs of those we serve, because together, we create a healthy community.

For more information:

Melissa McDermott

Communications Manager

Arnprior Regional Health

[email protected]