Medtronic announced that the OptiVol Fluid Status Monitoring trend data is available via the Medtronic CareLink Network (press release).

“Heart failure is the number one cause of hospital admissions today –
about 1 million annually – mostly as a result of fluid accumulation in
the thorax, otherwise known as decompensation,” said Bruce Wilkoff, MD,
Director of Cardiac Pacing and Tachyarrhythmia Devices, Cleveland
Clinic Foundation. “Fluid-overloaded patients can become critically
ill, requiring hospitalization and often urgent care. By utilizing the
OptiVol data together with regular patient monitoring, we can
potentially prevent some of these hospitalizations or critical illness
resulting from patients’ worsening heart failure.”

OptiVol Fluid Status Monitoring measures changes in impedance in the thoracic cavity, and is a feature found on the InSync Sentry cardiac resynchronization therapy-defibrillator (CRT-D). The system measures the level of resistance to the electrical pulses, which indicates the level of fluid in the chest. The company recently received FDA approval to provide this fluid trend data to physicians monitoring their patients via the Medtronic CareLink Network. The data is accessible in two formats, a detailed 90-day view, and a 14-month view, which shows longer-term trend data of the patient's condition.

“Nearly 60,000 patients currently send data with the push of a button
via the Medtronic CareLink Network, providing physicians with valuable
information about their ICD, cardiac resynchronization therapy device,
or pacemaker,” said Steve Mahle, president, Medtronic Cardiac Rhythm
Management. “Remote physician access to OptiVol trend data for patients
is another tool to help combat worsening heart failure – leading to
proactive care, rather than reacting to symptoms and hospitalizations.”

Sounds pretty compelling. More on new applications for implants and remote monitoring here. Pictured at right is Antonio Comandari showing the swelling from surgery where an InSync Sentry was implanted in his chest.