Dr. Michael Balk, managing partner, Northside Cardiology, is among the first physicians in the country to treat patients with the new wireless INGENIO™ pacemaker. This state-of-the-art technology allows Northside Hospital cardiologists to remotely monitor the respiratory and heart rates of their cardiac patients, around the clock and from any computer system, via a secure website. Dr. Balk implanted the first device at Northside on May 24, 2012.
“With this new technology, when a patient walks into the bedroom to sleep, his pacemaker communicates automatically and wirelessly with a special transmitter that is plugged into the phone jack; there’s no work needed on the patient’s part,” said Dr. Balk. “Once I receive and evaluate the information, I can proactively manage the patient’s heart status and even transmit information back to the pacemaker to make changes if necessary.”
Pacemakers are designed to treat bradycardia, a condition in which the heart beats too slowly — usually less than 60 beats per minute — depriving the body of sufficient oxygen. Most pacemakers on the market today require either a special wand or a connection to electrodes in order to program or transmit information. The INGENIO offers patients more flexibility and can even save time during follow-up exams, transmitting relevant data to physicians between visits via a secure website without a landline.
“Patients don’t need to worry about messing up the transmission or attaching leads incorrectly,” said Dr. Balk. “There are no wires to connect; everything is automatic.”
Approximately 270 pacemakers are implanted at Northside’s three hospitals each year. Any patient eligible for a pacemaker is eligible for the INGENIO device.