Abbott (ABT -0.74%) has received European approval for its new Gallant implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator (CRT-D) devices for patients with abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure. In addition to all the normal functions of a defibrillator, which shocks a patient's heart back into normal rhythms if it starts beating erratically, the new devices can connect to Abbott's myMerlinPulse mobile app via Bluetooth to give doctors and patients more information on what's happening with the device.

Data from the device is sent straight to the patient's doctor, but the patient can see the transmission history and device performance as well. Patients can also trigger transmissions to their doctors if they feel something is awry. The app can even prompt patients to schedule their next appointments. On the physician side, the automatic transmissions can help doctors identify asymptomatic episodes, which can lead to earlier intervention and potentially better patient outcomes.

"The positive impact of remote monitoring has been proven repeatedly and leads to better patient outcomes and reduced burden on the healthcare system," Avi Fischer, chief medical officer for Abbott's cardiac rhythm management business said in a statement.

Doctor listening to a patient's heart with a stethoscope

Image source: Getty Images.

With connectivity comes risk from hackers and malware, but Abbott has built-in cybersecurity controls. The devices also have the capacity to be upgraded to meet evolving digital threats.

In addition their remote-monitoring capabilities, the Gallant devices have all the bells and whistles of its earlier model defibrillators, including the ability to program the ICD to a patient's specific needs and Abbott's MultiPoint Pacing and SyncAV features in the CRT-D, which increase the likelihood that patients will respond to CRT therapy.