KINGSPORT – A new type of defibrillator being used by Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center physicians is helping keep heart patients healthy – and out of the hospital.

Wellmont Holston Valley is one of just three hospitals in Tennessee and the only hospital in the region utilizing the new Medtronic InSync Sentry defibrillator system, a unique implanted device that both regulates and monitors heart activity, providing physicians with information that can help spot problems before hospitalization is necessary.

“This device operates like a traditional defibrillator – leads attach to both sides of the heart and provide resynchronization of the heart’s contractions through electronic impulses to the heart muscle,” said Dr. Greg Jones, a Cardiovascular Associates electrophysiologist who practices at Wellmont Holston Valley.

“But what makes this device unique is that it also monitors fluid status in the chest, which is sometimes a signal for heart problems. When we see fluid accumulation in time, we can adjust medications and keep patients out of the hospital.”

Currently, patients come in for monthly check-ups so physicians can monitor fluid levels. But soon, physicians will be able gather that information remotely through wireless transmissions, even from patients who live hours away, Dr. Jones said.

“Fluid buildup is often something that goes undetected until the patient is critically ill and needs urgent treatment,” he said. “The more we know about a patient’s heart, the better our chances of keeping that heart healthy.”


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