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The FDA Just Approved a ‘Smart’ Defibrillator for Heart Patients

Hands Presenting HeartHands Presenting Heart
Your income is an indicator of cardiac health.Photograph by TommL—via Getty Images/Vetta

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a device from medical equipment giant Medtronic (MDT) that could help patients with irregular heart rhythms by harnessing the power of algorithms.

The Claria MRI Quad Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Defibrillator SureScan can handle a number of functions, including being able to be used inside MRIs, according to Medtronic. But what really sets it apart from standard defibrillators is the built-in software that can sense how effective the pulses sent to the heart actually are in individuals and adjust the rate at which they’re delivered.

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“Until now, [devices used to resynchronize heart rhythms] have shown only whether a pacing pulse was sent, but we haven’t been able to determine if that stimulation actually improves the heart’s pumping ability,” said Dr. Suneet Mittal, director of the Electrophysiology Laboratory at the Arrhythmia Institute of the Valley Health System in New Jersey and an investigator involved in Medtronic trials, in a statement.

That’s promising for patients who suffer from the abnormal heart rhythm condition atrial fibrillation. The firm did not say exactly when the product will be released on the market.

Medtronic recently received the first-ever FDA approval for an artificial pancreas that seeks to largely automate the process for patients with type 1 diabetes of taking insulin.