Palmetto Health is first health care system in the Midlands to implant the CardioMEMS Heart Failure System. The miniature wireless system enables congestive heart failure patients to be remotely monitored in the comfort of their own home. It is the only FDA-approved pulmonary artery monitoring device that has been proven to provide heart failure patients with a better quality of life by significantly reducing hospitalizations.
Approved last year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the CardioMEMS HF System is a battery-free implantable sensor/monitor smaller than a dime. A catheter delivery system deploys the sensor within the pulmonary artery. Once the patient returns home, heart rates and pulmonary artery pressures can be monitored daily by a portable electronic unit and sleeping on a special pillow containing an antenna. The resulting data are transmitted in real time to a secure database at the hospital for review by a physician. If an abnormality is detected, changes can be made to the patient’s medications, diet or activity level, thereby reducing the possibility of a hospitalization and ultimately improving a patient’s quality of life.
“Our goal is to implement leading edge technology that offers a significant benefit to our patients, said Patrick McCann, M.D., medical director of the Heart Failure and Mechanical Circulatory Support program at Palmetto Health Heart Hospital. “Congestive heart failure is a dynamic condition. The ability to obtain more precise data allows us to optimize patient care. It affords the opportunity to provide proactive, instead of reactive, medical care.”
Willie Scott, Jr. knows all too well how this device can change your life. As an ex-USC-Gamecock and NFL pro football player for Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots, Scott is accustomed to being an active person. As a high school football coach at St. Matthews High School last fall, he slowed down a little to have his device implanted in August. He only has positive things to say about the change it has made in his life. Scott now is the Calhoun County High School football coach.
Scott said, “I was pretty sick the day that my administrative assistant told me that I just didn’t look right. I didn’t feel great, so I stopped what I was doing and went straight to my doctor. That doctor visit landed me in the hospital having 50 pounds of fluid removed. That was crazy. As you can imagine, I felt better but I still had the problem.”
Scott’s congestive heart problems now are being managed with CardioMEMS. He added, “This has been an enhancement to my life. The system helps me and my medical team stay on top of what is going on. I know them personally. If they see something in my results, they call me to adjust my medicines or make an appointment for me to come in. I feel like I have a better lease on life with the help of this technology and my wonderful medical team.”
Research is showing strong results for the device. A 2011 research trial results, published in The Lancet, showed a 28 percent reduction in the rate of heart failure hospitalizations at six months post implant and a 37 percent reduction in hospitalizations during an average follow-up of 15 months.
Patients without this device use current standards for monitoring heart failure including self-monitoring with blood pressure cuffs and electronic scales or devices during physician visits or other implantable devices. Research has found that these methods have poor sensitivity to or detecting subtle heart failure changes which can result in increased hospital admissions.
For more information about Palmetto Health and CardioMEMS, visit www.PalmettoHealth.org/CardioMEMS.