Medtronic goes super tiny with its new wireless insertable cardiac monitoring device

Medtronic's Reveal LINQ wireless cardiac monitoring implant--Courtesy of Medtronic

Medtronic ($MDT) scored both a CE mark and FDA 510(k) clearance for a super-small wireless cardiac monitoring implant, and the Minnesota device giant is now pursuing a global rollout.

The next-generation product is formally known as the Reveal LINQ insertable cardiac monitor system. It is about one-third as large as a AAA battery, and Medtronic bills it as the smallest implantable cardiac monitoring device yet to gain approval. Implanted through a tiny incision in the upper left side of the chest, the device is safe for MRI use, has a boosted memory capacity and can work continuously for up to three years, Medtronic said.

Reveal LINQ advances from the company's Reveal XT device, and it has U.S. reimbursement and is covered elsewhere where Reveal XT has coverage, a Medtronic spokesperson said.

Constant cardiac monitoring helps patients find answers to cardiac arrhythmias and other heart-related problems. A tiny wireless device is also a huge step up from larger implants, or the broader, more common practice of wearing an outside portable battery-powered monitor connected to wires and electrodes pasted to the chest. Pat Mackin, head of Medtronic's Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management business, said in a statement that the new miniaturized monitoring implant (which works with a remote patient data transfer monitor) "is the result of many years of development work from engineers focused on shrinking the size of medical devices while maintaining their power and improving benefits for patients."

Wireless monitoring is the wave of the future, and Medtronic has the muscle to get it out to patients. Such an advance could also help jump-start cardiac rhythm management sales, which have been relatively slow at Medtronic and in the broader industry.

Still, some of Medtronic's rivals are pursuing equally interesting, and innovative alternatives. San Francisco's iRhythm Technologies recently won coverage from Aetna for its flagship arrhythmia monitoring patch. It is water resistant, gathers and analyzes heart data and requires no incision. Philips is developing more home telemonitoring services to monitor patients with congestive heart failure and other cardiac issues. Xerox ($XRX) similarly is pursuing video patient-monitoring product development for cardiac and other patients, something that would rely, in part, on data analytics.

- read the release

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