A REVOLUTIONARY heart procedure is now being performed in Bendigo.
Clinicians at St John of God Hospital Bendigo are among the first experts in Victoria to implant the world's smallest cardiac monitor - the Medtronic Reveal LINQ ICM.
The miniature device is capable of diagnosing potentially dangerous irregular heartbeats and aims to disarm the "ticking time bomb" for those people who live unknowingly with chronic heart conditions.
Cardiologist Dr Joris Mekel implanted Bendigo's first Medtronic Reveal LINQ ICM in a patient on Friday.
"It's been dramatically quick," he said.
"It takes longer to do your whole set up than the actual implant.
"You'd be looking about 15 minutes all up and the actual implant is about 60 seconds."
The device is an improvement on an older, much larger cardiac monitor.
Its predecessor was about the size of a USB while the Medtronic Reveal LINQ ICM is smaller than a pen lid.
"It's a lot more comfortable for the patient because it's much, much smaller," Dr Mekel said.
"The old device had to be implanted with an incision, making room for the device and then suturing it.
"This new device has greater functionality and capabilities in terms of recording abnormal rhythms.
"It gets put in by a syringe technique.
"So there is still a small incision with a special tool and then the device just gets pushed in under the skin.
Dr Mekel implanted three of the new devices during procedures at St John of God Hospital Bendigo on Friday.
"It's only been in Australia for about four weeks," he said.
"The US and Europe have had it for probably three months.
"It lasts for three years and the great thing is that together with the improvement in technology, it comes standard with a facility that the patient can transmit the recordings that they do straight to us via the internet.
"We can also read it when they come to the clinic."
Without appropriate diagnosis and treatment, the effects of undetected or misdiagnosed heart rhythm disorders can be fatal and occur without warning.
The new insertable cardiac monitor will be used to aid clinicians in detecting minute changes in a patient’s heart rhythm by continuously monitoring, recording and storing data inside the device .
The number of Australians living with heart rhythm disease is currently unknown, with high numbers of the population undiagnosed.
Heart rhythm disturbances may occur because of problems within the heart itself or be the result of abnormalities in the body's environment that can affect the heart's ability to conduct electricity.
Rick Nudl, 55, was one of the first Bendigo residents to have the revolutionary device implanted on Friday.
"It's great," he said.
"I'm feeling perfect, it was all very quick."