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Real-Life Iron Man: How a New Device Can Help Heart Failure Patients

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If you have severe heart failure, you probably worry about the need for a heart pumping device or even a heart transplant. You may also have to go through multiple hospital stays as your condition changes.1

However, at the Temple Heart and Vascular Institute, we now offer a wireless monitoring device called the CardioMEMS HF System that can help you manage your disease in a proactive way and can reduce your chance of hospitalization.2 Your cardiologist can let you know if you’re a candidate for the System.

What Is It?

The System is made up of an implantable pulmonary artery (PA) sensor, a delivery system, and Patient Electronics System. The implantable sensor is permanently placed in your pulmonary artery, the blood vessel that moves blood from your heart to your lungs. It’s implanted during a non-surgical procedure called a “right heart catheterization.” The PA sensor is about the size of small paper clip and has a thin, curved wire at each end. It does not need any batteries or wires. It can measure and monitor your pulmonary artery (PA) blood pressure and your heart rate as well.3

The delivery system is a long, thin, flexible tube that moves through the blood vessels and is designed to release the implantable sensor in the far end of the pulmonary artery. The Patient Electronics System includes the electronics unit, antenna and pillow. Together, the components of the Patient Electronics System read the PA pressure measurements from the sensor wirelessly and then transmit the information to the doctor. The antenna is paddle-shaped and is pre-assembled inside a pillow to make it easier and more comfortable to take readings.3

How Does It Work?

The sensor monitors the pressure in the pulmonary artery. You take a daily reading from home (or another non-clinical location) using the Patient Electronics System. That sends the information to your doctor. He or she then analyzes the information, and makes any medication changes that are necessary.3

What Will It Accomplish?

Access to PA pressure data gives your doctors another way to manage your heart failure and potentially keep you out of the hospital.3

Why Did Temple Heart & Vascular Institute Choose It?

For one thing, the data were impressive. The CardioMEMS HF System is the first and only FDA-approved heart failure monitoring device that has been proven to significantly reduce hospital admissions—by 28 to 37 percent in clinical trials.2 All the features described above were important, and we knew patients would especially appreciate that the CardioMEMS sensor is designed to last a lifetime and doesn’t need batteries.2

Soon we’ll celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first human heart transplant, an exceptional human achievement that has saved the lives of thousands of people. Yet even now, our understanding of the body’s systems and molecular biology continues to evolve, and that yields new benefits for our patients. The CardioMEMS HF System is just another example of that evolution.

References:

  1. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hf/treatment. Accessed September 13, 2016.
  2. Temple Heart & Vascular Institute newsletter, Winter 2016.
  3. http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/DeviceApprovalsandClearances/Recently-ApprovedDevices. Accessed September 13, 2016.

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