New CardioMEMS Implant Monitors Heart Failure Patients Remotely

Print icon

Jim Mason was getting used to the same old routine experienced by many heart failure patients: Feel good for a while, have shortness of breath, swelling in his legs and abdomen and then back to the hospital. It’s a cycle that makes managing the disease particularly difficult.

Now thanks to a procedure being performed at Backus Hospital by Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute physicians, Mason’s providers can remotely monitor his condition and make changes before symptoms require hospitalization.

During the outpatient procedure, using technology known as CardioMEMS, a battery-free sensor is implanted into the patient’s pulmonary artery to help monitor the pressure from the artery. Once implanted, heart failure patients spend a few minutes each day at home lying on a special pillow that acts as an antenna to read the implanted sensor. The pillow then transmits the pressure readings through a secure website, where it is reviewed by the patient’s cardiology team.

Mason, from Charlestown, R.I., underwent the procedure at Backus Hospital on Jan. 30 — the first in the Hartford HealthCare system. The CardioMEMS system has since been introduced to patients at Hartford Hospital and soon The Hospital of Central Connecticut.

“I was starting to feel winded after walking a real short distance on Friday. Later that day, [after lying on the transmitting device], the office called and said I needed to increase my medication,” said Mason who had been admitted to the hospital three times in December before having the device installed.

Mason’s cardiologist, Howard L. Haronian, MD, East Region Vice President & Chief Medical Director of the Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute, said a randomized trial comparing HF patients with and without the device, using the same medication and treatment algorithms shows a nearly 40 percent reduction in hospitalization and an increased quality of life.

“Without the device, heart failure patients are told to use a scale and weigh themselves every day. By the time their weight has increased it might be too late to prevent hospitalization,” Dr. Haronian said. “The monitor would have picked up the pressure increase a week or two before. So we’re getting way ahead of symptoms before a patient would need to be hospitalized.”

Dr. Haronian said he’s pleased that the procedure can now be offered in community hospitals like Backus where patients don’t always have immediate access to advanced care for heart failure. Mason agrees.

“If I didn’t have this, I’m sure I’d already be back in the hospital,” he said.

Learn more about CardioMEMS here

 


What's New


Tallwood Men’s Health: Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States and worldwide. For the man who regularly consults with his doctor, however, heart disease and its potentially fatal consequences are usually avoidable. Dr. Waseem Chaudhry is a preventive cardiologist at the Hartford HealthCare Tallwood Men’s Health Center....


Heart Failure: A New Level of Concern with Preserved Ejection Fraction

Heart failure is an extremely serious condition – but there are treatments. Plus, there’s a not-well-known condition called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. Dr. Abhishek Jaiswal is a cardiologist with the Center for Advanced Heart Failure with the Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute. Q: What is heart failure...


Babies in Red Hats: Raising Awareness of Congenital Heart Defects

Pictured above: Angelica Otero of Willimantic holds her new baby boy Joeziah Cummings Otero who was born Jan. 26 at the Windham Hospital Birthing Center. They may not be aware of it quite yet, but babies born at Hartford HealthCare hospitals in February are taking part in their own effort to...

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

How Pain in Her Shoulder Became Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Veronica Debkiewicz was just a few months shy of earning her nursing degree when she lost feeling and function in her right arm. “I woke up with a lot of pain in my shoulder,” said Debkiewicz, who now works as a perioperative nurse at Hartford Hospital. “It felt like my...