Medtronic CareLink Network
for Cardiac Device Patients

Patient Education Materials

Overview

Patients around the world rely on the Medtronic CareLink Network for improved care, convenience, and peace of mind. We encourage you to share the stories in this section with your patients. They describe how busy patients enjoy the freedom and convenience associated with the CareLink Network.

Patients can obtain additional information about the CareLink Network by visiting the patient pages on www.medtronic.com.

You can also download a pdf of Medtronic CareLink Network: Remote Monitoring for Heart Devices (PDF, 888 KB) for your patients. This brochure provides a comprehensive overview of the CareLink Network for your patients. It also includes patient testimonials, instructions for using the CareLink Monitor, questions and answers for your patients, information on switching from TTM to the CareLink Network, and information on patient resources. A downloadable pdf of the patient brochure in Spanish (PDF, 856 KB) is also available.

Dawn's Story

Dawn's Story

Remote Monitoring Brings Busy Parent Freedom and Convenience

Before that day in January 1987, when she blacked out in class during her senior year of high school, Dawn Yasik of Newark, Delaware, had never had any serious health problems. After the blackout, Dawn experienced short-term memory loss, a common occurrence for many with heart rhythm problems, as she would learn.

Several months later, Dawn was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia (VT) and Long QT Syndrome (LQTS). "It was pretty scary stuff," she recalls.

Getting Treatment With an ICD

Thanks to a regimen of beta blocker medications, Dawn had no serious heart rhythm problems for the next 11 years. When the blackouts returned in 1998, Dawn's doctor recommended that she get a Medtronic implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).

Dawn and her husband decided to start a family in 2000, which Dawn says she "would never have considered without the ICD." The day after she discontinued the beta blockers in preparation for the pregnancy, her ICD delivered its first therapeutic shock. Dawn continued to experience some heart rhythm problems during her pregnancy, but she delivered a healthy baby girl in May 2001.

A Simple Solution to Follow-Up Care

Now caring for her baby, Dawn faced new challenges. The regular visits to her EP clinic every three to four months for routine device checks changed to every two months as the battery of her ICD neared the end of its service life. Also, when her device periodically delivered therapeutic shocks, she was told not to drive for several months. Having to depend on others for rides to the clinic, despite the fact that it was only 15 minutes away, made Dawn feel "like a burden," especially when her husband had to miss work.

Early in 2003, Dawn's clinic provided her with a solution that offered new freedom and greater peace of mind – the Medtronic CareLink® Network, a remote monitoring service for cardiac device patients. Using the system's portable monitor, Dawn was now able to transmit her ICD data at her clinic's direction via a standard phone line from home or while away. "It's so simple to use. I understood how to transmit right away," she said.

The Convenience of the Medtronic CareLink Network

Three months after receiving her Medtronic CareLink Monitor, Dawn experienced "something" but wasn't sure if it had been a shock or a dream. She immediately called her clinic, Cardiology Consultants, P.A., in Newark, and was instructed to transmit her data via the Medtronic CareLink Network. "Within five minutes, the EP nurse called me with details about what had, in fact, been a shock as I was losing consciousness. Without the Medtronic CareLink Network, it would have been inconvenient to get to the clinic since I had the baby with me and was not allowed to drive." When Dawn and her family took a vacation four hours from home in June 2003, the Medtronic CareLink Monitor went along. "Before I had the monitor, I would have been quite concerned about traveling that far from home and my clinic," says Dawn. "Having the monitor with me and knowing I could be ‘connected’ with my clinic within minutes made me feel much better." When it came time to replace her device, Dawn says she specifically asked if her new device would offer Medtronic CareLink remote monitoring. Her new device, implanted in the spring of 2004, is a Maximo® model that offers the remote follow-up that Dawn has come to trust. Today, Dawn enjoys traveling with her family. She says, laughing, "We've been to Disney and Palm Springs, and the Medtronic CareLink Monitor always comes along."

This story recounts the experience of a patient who is using the Medtronic CareLink Monitor for remote device follow-up. Medtronic, Inc., invited Dawn to share this story. Please bear in mind that this experience is specific to this patient. Results vary; not every response is the same.

Becky's Story

carelink-becky

Regaining the Energy and Freedom to Move Life Forward

Growing up on a 28-cow dairy farm in southern Minnesota, Becky Bode and her four siblings learned the meaning of hard work early in life. Today, Becky, her husband Arlen, and his parents farm 1,500 acres and milk a herd of 310 Holstein cows. With the help of 12 high-school girls ("12 girls a-milking" as Becky calls them), the Bodes can enjoy family time with their two teenage sons Brandon and Cody on Sunday nights – Arlen's only night off from the dairy business. Becky's grown daughter, Nicole, works in town and helps with the milking part time.

When Becky started experiencing shortness of breath in the spring of 2005, she tried to ignore the symptoms, as she was busy with her job as a cook at the local parochial school, her quilting passion, her farm chores, and taking care of her family. By the time Becky went in to see the doctor, they first thought she was having a heart attack and had her airlifted to Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. After a series of cardiac tests, Becky was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy, a viral infection of the heart that weakens and stretches the heart muscle. Becky's ejection fraction (EF) was measured at a dangerously low 15 percent to 20 percent, and she was sent home from the hospital with medications to improve her EF.

“For three months I sat doing nothing.”

That's how Becky describes the period following her diagnosis. She lacked the energy and strength to cook at the school, do her field work, participate in her kids' activities, or quilt. Even when she tried to fold a basket of clothes or cook dinner, Becky had to rest frequently. In her initial panic at the hospital, and as she was trying to cope with fatigue and inactivity at home, Becky reached out to Kim Gallagher, a friend with whom she had gone to quilting retreats for the past six years. A long-time employee at Medtronic, Kim visited and comforted her friend, giving her information on implantable device therapy and how it is helping thousands of heart patients around the world lead full and productive lives. When at the end of three months Becky's ejection fraction remained at the same low level despite the medications, she asked about Medtronic device therapy.

Medtronic InSync Sentry® CRT-D device

In September 2005, Becky received a Medtronic InSync Sentry CRT-D device, a new type of implantable defibrillator that also treats heart failure. The device provides Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT), which ensures that the chambers of the heart beat together, or "in sync," and paces the heart at a level appropriate for the patient's activity level. Medtronic InSync Sentry is the world's first device to feature OptiVol® Fluid Status Monitoring.

“What can I do today?”

“Within two weeks of the surgery, I could tell I was able to get up with energy and ask myself, ‘What can I do today?’ instead of sitting on the couch doing nothing,” said Becky. A few weeks later, at her request, the clinic enrolled Becky in remote device monitoring with the Medtronic CareLink® Network. Knowing that her Medtronic CareLink Monitor allows her to transmit data from her device using a standard phone line has opened more options for Becky. "I appreciate having that security there with my Medtronic CareLink Monitor. Now if I go to a quilting retreat up north, or to the World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin in the fall, it's nice to know I can transmit device data to the clinic from there, if necessary." Becky, who had not left the farm after her diagnosis until she received the Medtronic CareLink Monitor, has quilted a bag for her portable monitor so it is ready to travel anywhere.

Becky does what she calls her "heart doctoring" in Minneapolis/St. Paul, nearly two hours from the farm. Following a schedule of four checkups a year, Becky expects to eventually be able to replace three of the four quarterly checkups with transmissions from her Medtronic CareLink Monitor.

Becky believes the experience has brought her whole family closer together. Her only regret is that she didn't get a device sooner. "As a mom in her forties, I want to be involved in my children's lives. With this therapy, I have the energy to move forward, be it camping or four-wheeling with my boys."

A 20th wedding anniversary, buying a cabin up north, and more quilting retreats with Kim are just a few of the items on Becky's busy calendar. "I am back at it, and I have the energy to do it," she said. "It's about having the choice, being able to take advantage of time and enjoy it."

This story recounts the experience of a patient who is using the Medtronic CareLink Monitor for remote device follow-up. Medtronic, Inc., invited Becky to share this story. Please bear in mind that this experience is specific to this patient. Results vary; not every response is the same.

Last updated: 22 Sep 2010

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