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Tyrone Hospital upgrades holter monitoring system

Tyrone Hospital has upgraded its holter monitoring system to remain compatible with the technology used by its cardiologists.
Holter monitoring is a test physicians use to capture information about the electrical activity of a person’s heart over a 24-hour period. The test involves placement of small electrodes on a person’s chest that are attached to a monitor that records the heart’s activity. The monitor is about the size of a cell phone.
“The patient wears the monitor for a 24-hour period,” said Shirley Kooken, Director of Cardiopulmonary Services at Tyrone Hospital. The monitor collects information about heart function and stores it on a memory card that is about the size of a postage stamp.
The monitor can be clipped on a belt or waistband or worn over the shoulder like a purse. Once the data is collected, the memory chip is sent to the hospital’s cardiologists for evaluation.
Two cardiologists, V. Janakiraman, M.D. and Mukul Bhatnagar, M.D. practice at Tyrone Hospital. Their Tyrone practice is in addition to their practice at Altoona Regional Health System. Between them they have provided services in Tyrone for more than 23 years.
Kooken said the cardiologists have technology in their office that allows them to access the information on the data card.
“That is why the technology we use at the hospital needs to be compatible with what the doctor’s use in their office.”
Cardiologist V. Janakiraman, M.D. explained that holter monitoring gives doctor’s more information about heart function because it records how the heart functions over a period of time, during the course of daily activities.
“It is like an extended EKG. With an EKG we learn about the heart with the patient at rest for a given point in time. With holter monitoring we get information about how a patient’s heart functions when they are doing daily activities such as unloading their groceries, climbing stairs, or eating dinner. It gives us much more information to help us evaluate the heart.”
Dr. Janakiraman said holter monitoring is often used in addition to other heart tests.
Kooken said the upgraded holter monitoring system Tyrone Hospital now uses is more comfortable and convenient for patients.
“The new units are smaller and patients simply need to push a button to capture information as compared to our previous system which was larger and required patients to keep a written diary.”
Kooken said patient compliance is also better with the automated system.
Kooken said patients are asked to note significant information, for example if they experience palpitations.
“It is much easier to get patients to push a button as compared to writing information in a diary.”
In addition to holter monitoring, Tyrone Hospital also provides electrocardiogram and echocardiography for evaluation of heart function. Cardiologists also perform pacemaker insertion at Tyrone.
For more information about Tyrone Hospital’s cardiac diagnostic services, contact Shirley Kooken, Director of Cardiopulmonary Services at 684-6317.