Using Tech Effectively

Wireless Tech Keeps Heart Failure Patients Out Of The Hospital

The future of medicine is here. With a new procedure for patients
with congestive heart failure, WellStar cardiologists can now monitor a heart failure patient’s condition from home and manage medications to best suit each individual patient.

A problem often associated with heart failure is hospital admission; in the United States, more than 1 million people are hospitalized with the condition every year. More than half of patients hospitalized with the condition were readmitted in less than six months.

Fortunately, there is a new treatment at WellStar Kennestone Hospital that is making the day-to-day lives of patients with heart failure a little bit easier and keeping them out of the hospital. CardioMEMs is a device that monitors the pressure inside the heart and enables care teams to make adjustments to medicine without the patient ever coming into the office.

The device is implanted in the patient’s pulmonary artery during a minimally-invasive outpatient procedure. It is approximately the size of a dime. After the device is implanted, the patient can record the pressure in the heart at home by lying on a data-gathering pillow. The information is then automatically sent to a designated heart failure care team who review the data on a weekly basis. It is important that CardioMEMS patients collect the data from their device daily.

This data helps physicians monitor the lifestyle and medication changes of the patient. Changes in data may signal to the physician whether a certain treatment option is working or not. Importantly, the data allows the physician to make adjustments before the patient experiences symptoms or ends up in the hospital.

Since the CardioMEMs device can sense pressure changes, its purpose is to detect signs of heart failure progression before the patient notices any symptoms. In the past, physicians have diagnosed patients based on symptoms alone, but with this device, decisions are made based on real data from the heart.

“I am very pleased with how the CardioMEMs patients have been doing post-procedure,” said Dr. Hans Lee, medical director of the Congestive Heart Failure Program at WellStar Kennestone Hospital. “Heart failure is a scary condition but these patients seem to have peace of mind knowing that they are constantly being monitored by their care team.”

Dr. Hans Lee is currently in practice with WellStar Medical Group Cardiovascular Medicine. For an appointment with him or one of the other physicians on the Congestive Heart Failure team, call 770-528-9933 or visit www.wellstar.org for more information.