Finding answers with the Reveal LINQ™ ICM System


All his life, Bill has been active. He spent 31 years in the Air Force working in air freight and passenger service before becoming a pastor and working other jobs. With five children and eight grandchildren, there are always activities and chores — from raking the leaves to fixing bicycles to playing a game of basketball.

There were no signs of illness — aside from a little fatigue — before he collapsed one morning with a massive stroke.

“No warning whatsoever,” Bill says.

“We had been talking, he got up to go to the bathroom and I heard things falling,” remembers Donna, Bill’s wife of 47 years. “I found him on the floor, unconscious. He couldn’t talk and couldn’t move.”

Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke

After Bill was stabilized at the hospital, his medical team set out to determine what caused the stroke.

“One of the main etiologies for stroke is atrial fibrillation,” says Gary Boliek, M.D., a cardiologist at Baptist Health in Lexington, Ky. “Patients are sometimes symptomatic in that they may feel their heart racing irregularly. But many times, atrial fibrillation is silent.”

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a common condition in which the upper chambers of the heart, or atria, beat very fast and irregularly so the heart can’t pump blood effectively to the rest of the body. AFib increases the risk of stroke more than 5 times,1 but often goes undetected since it can happen infrequently or without symptoms.

A heart monitor could determine if Bill had a heart arrhythmia. There are many types of heart monitors and they vary by how long they can be used and how information is captured. One type of monitor captures heart activity for up to two days. Another can be worn for up to 30 days.

A large study showed that for many patients who’ve experienced an unexplained stroke, known as a cryptogenic stroke, it could take more than 80 days for AFib to appear because the episodes happen infrequently, often without symptoms.2


Bill’s doctor decided on the Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitoring (ICM) System, a heart monitor that watches for problems 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for up to three years. A miniaturized monitor, it is one-third the size of a AAA battery and is implanted under the skin. Data from the device is automatically sent to the doctor.

It took eight months before Bill experienced another episode, and the Reveal LINQ ICM detected atrial fibrillation. With this information, Bill’s doctor prescribed blood thinners to help prevent AFib from causing another stroke.

“If we had not implanted the continuous monitor, we likely would not have detected his atrial fibrillation,” says Curtis Given, M.D., a neurosurgeon at Baptist Health. “Without the [monitor], we might have sent him home on aspirin, for example, and that would not have protected him from future stroke.”

Bill Reveal LINQ Patient Image

Celebrating Life

Since his stroke, Bill has celebrated his 80th birthday and is back to helping Donna around the house with vacuuming, unloading the dishwasher, doing laundry, raking the yard and fixing household items.

“He still does most everything he ever did, sometimes more,” says Donna. She also knows the importance of a rapid response. “Whether you know it’s a stroke or not, get help fast,” she says.

Bill is happy to be back to his old self. “I just couldn’t imagine not doing the things I’ve always done, you know?” he says. “Now, I can pretty much do what I want to do or what I have to do.”

This story reflects one person's experience. Not every person will receive the same results. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.


Wolf PA, Abbott RD, Kannel WB. Atrial fibrillation as an independent risk factor for stroke. The Framingham Study. Stroke. August 1991;22(8):983-988. 


Sanna T, Diener HC. Passman RS. Et al. Cryptogenic Stroke and Underlying Atrial Fibrillation (CRYSTAL AF). N Engl J Med. June 26, 2014;370(26):2478-2486.