Use of the Vetronic Cardiostore for Avian Electrocardiogram
Presenting Author: Cathy A. Johnson-Delaney, DVM, Dipl ABVP (Avian)
Bird and Exotic Clinic of Seattle, Seattle, WA
Interpretive Review and comments by Dr. Nemetz:
Dr. Nemetz has been educating his clients about the prevalence of actual heart disease in pet birds for several years now. This has been contrary to the general opinion in the pet industry and general veterinary profession that heart disease does not exist in pet birds or those birds can suddenly die of a heart attack from the assumed "stress" of general restraint without cardiac pathology. Now more avian veterinarians are looking into this problem and finding the same situation as Dr. Nemetz. Heart disease is a REAL issue in pet birds. This is one of three articles that were presented on different aspects of cardiac diagnosis and disease; "A Retrospective Study of Atherosclerosis in Birds" (Click Here) by Dr. Garner and "The Electrocardiogram Made Easy for the Avian Veterinarian" ( Click here) by Dr. Lichtenberger.
Birds demonstrate atherosclerosis, conductive disorders, metabolic disorders, and other cardiac ailments secondary to other disease processes. One of the problems in the past was finding a way to accurately evaluate the heart. In 2002 a new device from the United Kingdom called the Vetronic Cardiostore was introduced. Since avian species have high heart rates (200 - 800 bpm), manual methods were extremely difficult to interpret and very time consuming. The Cardiostore is essentially a mini-computer about 4" x 8" x 1" that can measure and store cardiac electrical signals in a non-traumatic way from our avian patients.
Once this data is stored it can be downloaded to a main computer with special software to be manipulated and analyzed. This gives the veterinarian a more accurate way to evaluate the patient's cardiac parameters. The unit also has the capacity to act as a heart monitor during surgical procedures with audible sounds for heart rate and respiratory rate as well as warning alarms. This feature adds further safety in general avian surgery.