iRhythm: A company with heart

Mary Kate Miller
October 11, 2017
16 min read
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When it comes to your health, having as much information as possible can make all the difference in managing care.

When your doctors are operating with a wealth of information, it can help them to make a diagnosis sooner and target your care for the best results.

So, tools that give doctors comprehensive information, without being a total pain for patients to use, can be such a game changer. That’s why we’re so excited about iRhythm, one of our newest Healthy Living holdings.

What’s all the buzz about iRhythm?

iRhythm is the manufacturer of Zio, a compact heart monitor that could be revolutionary in the early detection of heart arrhythmias.

Hang on, what’s an arrhythmia?

Arrhythmia is a term used to indicate any deviation from the normal sequence of electrical impulses in the heart, so that covers heartbeats that are too slow or too fast, as well as erratic heartbeats. When the heart doesn’t beat properly, that means that it can’t pump blood effectively and this can cause a whole host of health problems. If the heart is not able to beat properly over a prolonged period of time, it can cause life-threatening problems – like sudden cardiac arrests and strokes.

So what exactly does Zio do?

Zio is the only “extended continuous cardiac monitoring system” that has been proven to help identify and rule-out heart arrhythmias in multiple peer-reviewed studies.

Patients can wear Zio all day, every day, for up to two weeks. They can sleep with it, shower with it, and even work out with it. What makes Zio even better is that it’s not cumbersome to wear. The single-use monitors stick directly onto the chest; It’s compact and discreet. There are no wires, and it actually looks pretty cool. Who even thought that could be possible with a heart monitor?

Because of Zio’s streamlined, easy-to-wear design, there is a higher rate of patient compliance with Zio. Obviously, this is huge because getting patients to actually stick with the monitoring is key to being able to get an accurate diagnosis.

Traditional heart monitoring only takes place over one or two days. Zio uses a 14-day monitoring period, giving doctors complete data the first time they test. This, in turn, helps speed up the diagnosis— whether it’s identifying or ruling out a heart arrhythmia— and gives doctors the tools to make “better, more informed treatment decisions.”

With Zio, you can see the difference. In a 2014 side-by-side comparison with a traditional Holter monitor, published in the American Journal of Medicine, it was shown that diagnostic yield was a whopping 57% greater with Zio.

What do patients get when they use Zio?

Yes, Zio is a discreet and easy-to-wear monitor. But it’s not just a monitor. What makes Zio special is that its unique design is paired with a proprietary algorithm and the Zio Report.

The algorithm

iRhythm uses a proprietary algorithm that analyzes data collected by the patch. The patch detects both symptomatic and asymptomatic cardiac events, so it can help catch something that’s otherwise incredibly difficult to see (because there aren’t any symptoms).

Zio Report

All this essential information is then put together into a report that is comprehensive — and this one is huge and easy to read. In the same 2014 comparison in the American Journal of Medicine, it was demonstrated that doctors using Zio reached a diagnosis 90% of the time.

Meeting a major need in American healthcare

Arrhythmias are a big deal. Left unchecked, they can lead to severe health risks. They’re also shockingly common. A 2004 study in Circulation: The Journal of the American Heart Association, showed that there is about a 25% chance that Americans 40 and older will develop atrial fibrillation, the most common type of heart arrhythmia.

Getting the right diagnosis, and getting it quickly, can greatly improve quality of life. That’s why iRhythm is a company you can really root for. It’s making a demonstrable difference in the lives of patients who use it. And with heart arrhythmias affecting an estimated one-in-four Americans over age forty, there is widespread demand for diagnostic tools, and right now, Zio is setting the pace.

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