St. David's HealthCare May 24, 2018

Implanted device allows doctors to monitor patients’ hearts remotely

Austin, Texas—Heart Hospital of Austin is the first facility in Texas to enroll patients in a new clinical trial to determine whether the CardioMEMSTM HF System can improve survival and quality of life for those with mild to severe heart failure. The study aims to build on a previous trial that found the wireless monitoring device reduced hospital admissions by up to 37 percent in patients with moderate heart failure.

Dr. Kunjan A. Bhatt, a clinical cardiologist at Heart Hospital of Austin and with Austin Heart, monitors and provides care to patients who have received the CardioMEMS device.

“Data suggest that proactively managing people living with heart failure may change the course of the disease's progression,” Dr. Bhatt said. “This study is intended to provide the additional clinical evidence needed to make this technology available to more people who could benefit from its function.”

During the study, participants will have a sensor no larger than a small paperclip implanted through a minimally-invasive procedure directly into their pulmonary artery (PA). The sensor is designed to monitor PA pressure since changes in PA pressure can be early indicators of worsening heart failure. Patients lie down on a special pillow at home to wirelessly take a pressure reading. Data from the sensor is collected through the pillow's antenna and is sent wirelessly to the physician. This information can then be used by physicians to proactively adjust medication and treatment plans to reduce the likelihood of hospitalization.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), more than six million Americans live with heart failure, and 900,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. The widespread condition develops when the heart muscle weakens and is unable to pump sufficient amounts of blood throughout the body. Heart failure is a chronic condition that worsens over time. Left untreated, the lack of adequate blood flow causes the organs to progressively fail, resulting in numerous medical complications that erode the quality of life and can lead to death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that half of heart failure patients die within five years of diagnosis.

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Heart Hospital of Austin

Heart Hospital of Austin, which is part of St. David’s HealthCare, is a 58-bed hospital and one of the highest-performing cardiovascular facilities in the nation, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It features a comprehensive 24-hour emergency department; an advanced Executive Wellness Program; five operating rooms (ORs), including two hybrid ORs; three catheterization labs; and two electrophysiology labs. It is home to one of the largest non-academic cardiovascular research programs in the world.