ATLANTA, Ga. (Jan. 04, 2009) – The Piedmont Heart Institute is the only provider in Georgia participating in a new study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of an implantable heart attack alert system. The trial is investigating technology designed to save lives by providing patients with a warning of an impending heart attack and alerting them to seek immediate treatment. Piedmont Heart Institute physicians are currently seeking patients who may be eligible to participate in this groundbreaking clinical trial, for which oversight and support is provided by the Piedmont Healthcare Research Institute.
According to the American Heart Association, one of every five deaths in the United States can be attributed to coronary heart disease. Further, 50 percent of heart-attack fatalities occur within one hour of symptom onset and may occur before the patient even reaches the hospital.
“Symptoms of heart attacks may be dismissed or misinterpreted by patients, often resulting in a critical delay before lifesaving treatment can begin,” said Andrew C. Wickliffe, M.D., a Piedmont Heart Institute cardiologist and the principal investigator of the study. “Time is heart muscle. The quicker we are able to intervene the better they'll do in the long term. If the Guardian system proves to be effective in early detection and warning of potentially life-threatening heart attacks, lives will be saved.”
The ALERTS Pivotal Study of the AngelMed Guardian System is being conducted by select physicians across the country, including Piedmont Heart Institute. The Guardian System is comprised of an internal implantable device similar in size to a standard pacemaker with a single lead carefully placed into the heart. The system is designed to monitor and track significant changes in the heart's electrical signals and then alerts patients via an external telemetry device to seek medical attention.
"When someone has a heart attack, it is typically the result of a blood clot closing one of the three major arteries that supply the heart with oxygen. This results in an electrical shift on an EKG that can be detected in an emergency room. The Guardian device has the potential to recognize these electrical changes, before the patient is even symptomatic, resulting in a significant reduction in the amount of time before treatment is given." added Dr. Wickliffe. "The ALERTS trial is designed to test the Guardian's ability to detect these electrical shifts and to provide an early warning to patients that could potentially save their lives."
To be eligible for the ALERTS study, patients must have had a heart attack or open heart surgery within the past six months and meet other specific criteria; participate in a screening consultation; and, if selected, agree to visit with study researchers at regular intervals following the procedure.