Diana Barreto is a 52-year-old Abu Dhabi resident who benefitted enormously from the service. She lives with a pacemaker for arrythmia (atrial fibrillation or an irregular heartbeat). Her condition has prevented her from pursuing her passion, salsa dancing, due to the impact the strenuous activity has on her condition.
But in 2020 she became one of more than 700 patients at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Heart and Vascular Institute whose heart conditions are being remotely monitored, 24 hours a day. A small device is implanted under a patient’s skin, which alerts the team to any abnormal findings and allows them to remotely monitor a patient’s response to therapy.
During the peak of the pandemic, Diana suffered an arrhythmic episode, which the device detected, and her care team were immediately notified. Diana says, “It was a bit surprising at first to receive the call – the doctors knew exactly how I was feeling and asked me a series of questions before deciding that I needed to alter my medication dose and reduce my activity levels. Knowing they are closely monitoring my heartbeat, and if something goes wrong, they will catch it right away, makes me feel so safe and confident.”
Dr. Khalid Bakr, an Associate Staff Physician in the Heart and Vascular Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi says, “This has been a very beneficial tool for patients during the pandemic. Vulnerable patients can be assisted from the comfort of their home, and it allows us to monitor and assist those who may not need hospitalization, and instead provide medical advice remotely.”
The technology can allow doctors to detect heart problems early on by analyzing data in real time, looking at long-term and short-term trends. In extreme cases, the team can also alert emergency services and potentially save a patient’s life.