The first heart pacemaker was patented in 1929 by an American scientist and the world’s first practical pacemaker was developed in Sweden. However, Australian companies such as Telectronics Pty Limited and Micromedical Industries Limited lead the world with a number of world first developments and improvements in the pacemaker model.
Telectronics was Australia’s first successful high-tech medical electronics company to manufacture DC defibrillators, cardiac monitors and implantable cardiac pacemakers. The first pacemaker production facility was established in 1965. In 1973 the integration of a chip circuit into the pacemaker was completed, thereby making them considerably smaller, and the use of titanium in pacemaker casings made them light and impervious to body fluids.
The team of biomedical engineers at Micromedical Industries Limited are the innovators behind the world’s smallest electrocardiogram (ECG) and heart pacemaker monitors commercialised by the company in 1991. The three products, Biolog, Paceview and Heart Tel are easy to use, ‘intelligent’ time saving devices that can send signals via the telephone for instant analysis by doctors.
Biolog is a unique hand-held battery-powered portable ECG monitor that provides physicians with instant, accurate, high resolution displays of ECG waveforms and heart rate. The instrument is simply held on the patient’s chest. No cables or ECG electrodes are required.
Paceview can accurately monitor all heart pacemakers, regardless of type, age, or manufacturer. The instrument precisely displays pacer pulse markers on the ECG along with the pacemaker pulse shape and enables physicians to detect problems such as lead fracture, malfunction and pacer battery depletion. The single battery-powered hand-held unit replaces four devices currently used for pacemaker analysis, and negates the need for technicians, electrocardiographs, oscilloscopes, cameras or an external power source. Stored data from both Biolog and Paceview can be transferred to the printer by remote infra-red transmission or merged into patient records on computer.
Heart Tel can track heart data over many days or weeks, dramatically increasing the likelihood of monitoring and diagnosing important cardiac events. The solid-state device is lightweight and can be conveniently worn during everyday activities. With Heart Tel, people with heart problems can take their own ECG and send it over the telephone line rather than go to a doctor’s office. The company’s innovative products are sold in Australia, United States, United Kingdom, China, Italy, France, Germany and Scandinavia.
The inventive teams of biomedical engineers at Micromedical Industries are now working on new special sports versions for athletes and general fitness as well as the Cardiac Monitoring System (CMS) for home heart care services of congestive heart failure patients. CMS is an extension of the Micromedical product range, which will provide a monitoring service outside the hospital environment for use by the patient who has been assessed as having a risk of a cardiac event. This process is carried out under the supervision of a physician. The patient will be able to monitor their own cardiac performance and transmit the data to the doctor via transtelephonic communication. The physician will then be able to analyse the data by comparing it to past ECG data and other clinical information. CMS should allow earlier detection and prompt treatment of recurring heart problems, and will not only save lives, but will also improve the quality of life and reduce the cost of medical treatments for patients with known heart ailments.