Wifi pacemaker is heartening news for New York woman

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New York (NY) - A 61-year old New York woman has become the first recipient of a heart pacemaker that enables doctors to monitor her health over the internet.

Carol Kasyjanski is the first person in the United States to be given a pacemaker with a wireless home monitoring system that transmits data to her doctor via the web, enabling almost 90 percent of the routine diagnostic work to be done without the need to visit the hospital. The wireless pacemaker only gained FDA approval last month.

Kasyjanski, who has had a severe heart condition for more than 20 years, says the device has given her renewed confidence: "Years ago the problem was with my [pacemaker] lead, it was nicked, and until I collapsed no one knew what the problem was, no tests would show what the problem was until I passed out," she told Reuters.

Dr. Steven Greenberg, the director of St. Francis' Arrhythmia and Pacemaker Center, said the new technology helps him better treat his patients and looks set to replace conventional pacemakers. Hospital servers and the remote monitor communicate at least once a day to download the data and alert medical staff if there is anything abnormal: "If there is anything abnormal, and we have a very intricate system set up, it will literally call the physician responsible at two in the morning if need be.

"It enhances our ability to pick up and evaluate any problems with their pacemaker and certain other rhythm disorders that could be potentially dangerous or life threatening in ways we really could not do before," added Greenberg.

"Deep down I feel like I have gotten another chance," said Kasyjanski. "Right now I feel like this is a new lease on life and I am here for my two children and my grandchildren and, God willing, I will be here for many more years to come."