I feel the C.Net5000 ECG monitor is an indispensable tool in my consulting room.
Many patients who had symptoms, which may or may not have needed a referral to the hospital, had a Cardionetics ECG trace done. As a result, some patients were seen by the consultant as a matter of urgency:
- Three resulted in pacemaker insertion
- Some were referred as routine cases
- Many were reassured and followed up in primary care
Using the Cardionetics ECG monitor in general practice has meant that a lot of referrals to the local hospital cardiology department did not materialize, as they were unnecessary. The patient could be reassured and all the referral costs could be saved. This is very important for the practice budget as well as the PCT budget and helped us in our drive to reduce referrals to secondary care.
Patients present with palpitations, chest pains, irregular heart beats and anxiety states, and in common with all practices I have my share of "worried well" patients. The resultant benefits, quite apart from the financial aspects were twofold:
- I was able to assure 8 out of 16 patients that they did not have a heart problem and saved them up to 3 months unnecessary stress, while they would have waited for an initial outpatient appointment. I was able in some cases to give the patient a greater degree of reassurance immediately by showing them the report.
- For the patients for whom a referral was necessary, I was able to attach the report to the referral letter, which I feel greatly assisted the consultant in prioritising the appointments; some urgent cases were called very quickly.
Ambulatory monitoring has so far been an arcane science confined to cardiac specialists and hospital technicians (if you have any).
We explored the usefulness of using new compact and user friendly monitors validated against current technology and expert cardiac opinion, which we found highly acceptable to patients (minimal inconvenience) and easy to use by general practitioners and their practice nurses.
It is a great aid to decision making, allowing us to identify more pressing need and expedite specialist opinion, and allowed us greater confidence in managing problems and reassuring anxious patients who suffer from atypical chest pain and have fixed beliefs and cardiac anxieties.
All practices using this felt more secure in their diagnosis and showed they could cut down new referral rates. Patients found the monitoring highly acceptable and reassuring.
The machine can be used so easily and straightforwardly that a recording can be done without the slightest difficulty, and with the ability of fax machines to get an opinion from the local consultant, it will provide a very rapid diagnosis indeed. I have little doubt that it will do a lot of good for reassuring patients and may well reduce the workload coming to a cardiology clinic.
- The cost of the machine is pretty well identical to a routine 24-hour tape, which is unusual in the sense of a new form of equipment.
- The speed of analysis is so rapid that it will save a great deal of technician time in performing reports.
- The layout is very clear and it takes only a few seconds to see if there is an abnormality present.
- The nature of the machine makes it highly likely that chest pains will be diagnosed through the machine.
From a review of the C.Net5000 published in MIMS Cardiovascular:
As more and more medicine is moving into the community, the C.Net5000 is a piece of equipment no practice should be without.