Patient has Lots of Heart for Remote Pacemaker Program

February 19, 2015

Meet Anne Godfrey, Resident and Remote Pacemaker Monitoring Patient

About four times a year, 93 - year - old Anne Godfrey takes a short trip to the local YMCA in Guelph. It’s not Pilates or a rigorous workout that brings her to the YMCA, though it is about fitness and good health. Anne is one of about 200 patients who participate in an innovative, first in Ontario, pilot project that monitors pacemakers remotely.  

This means that Anne doesn't have to travel to St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener, the Regional Cardiac Care Centre for Waterloo Wellington, as often as she would have before to have her pacemaker monitored and inspected.  Instead, she travels about 30 minutes from her home to the YMCA in Guelph where she is helped by a volunteer who helps her to  send the pacemaker data through wireless transmission to St. Mary's to be analyzed  by a specially trained technologist or registered nurse.  Anne loves the program and hopes more residents like her will be able to enjoy the benefits the service offers.

“It truly is a beautiful program and I am very grateful for it,” says Anne. “The best part is I don’t have to waste an entire day to have my pacemaker checked out.  Even though I am retired, I don’t have all the time in the world so I really appreciate the convenience of the service. It was very difficult for me to drive or get a ride to my appointments and it was very expensive to have to pay for gas and parking."

An artificial cardiac pacemaker is an electronic device that regulates the beating of a heart by contracting the heart muscles through electronic pulses. The device is typically powered by a long lasting lithium battery. It is important that the device be checked out by qualified medical staff to make sure it is working properly.  

The remote pacemaker monitoring project is led by the Regional Cardiac Care Centre at St. Mary’s General Hospital, in partnership with the Cardiac Care Network of Ontario, Medtronic of Canada Ltd. and the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network. The pilot was launched in May 2014.

The YMCA & YWCA in Guelph is the first satellite location established for St. Mary’s patients. Results of the pilot will help to confirm the suitability of the service for our community and help to guide future plans.

For more information on St. Mary’s Cardiac Care Centre or the remote monitoring program visit the St. Mary's Cardiac Care Centre website.