A Pillow and an Implantable Device Are Making a Positive Impact on People with Heart Failure

Heart failure occurs when the heart can no longer pump enough blood and oxygen to support the organs in the body. According to the Heart Failure Society of America, heart failure is a growing problem, with one major study estimating 960,000 new heart failure cases annually.

The prognosis for someone diagnosed with heart failure can vary; however, people can expect a better life expectancy if the disease is properly managed and treated with medications and a healthy lifestyle.

McLaren Greater Lansing is making it easier for patients who suffer from heart failure with New York Heart Association Class II or III symptoms to manage their condition with the addition of a new device called the CardioMEMS HF System. According to Abbott, the creator of the  CardioMEMS device, it can aid physicians in preventing the worsening of heart failure symptoms, lower heart failure mortality rates, and improve the quality of life for heart failure patients.

“This is a very neat technology that will help our heart failure patients to be managed very effectively as outpatients and will prevent their condition from worsening and will help avoid hospitalization,” said Ibrahim Shah, MD, a cardiologist at McLaren Greater Lansing. “The device, once placed in the pulmonary artery, monitors pulmonary artery pressures and other hemodynamic data through a real-time reading once a day, when the patient lies on a specialized pillow that will transmit that data directly to our team through a secured server.”

The new system allows patients to transmit daily sensor readings from their homes to their physicians. Providers then monitor pulmonary artery pressure changes in advance of physical symptoms, allowing for personalized and proactive management of medication to reduce the likelihood of hospitalization.

“The CardioMEMS HF System features a sensor that is implanted in the pulmonary artery,” said Shah. “There is no cutting involved; it’s just a needle poke in the groin or neck. The patient is under conscious sedation, which means they are awake and breathing on their own. However, we do provide medicine to help the patient relax and make them sleepy.”

The procedure is outpatient and takes less than an hour.  Recovery includes only 2-3 hours of bed rest and then the patient can resume normal activities.

“Patients living with heart failure struggle to maintain a good quality of life due to fatigue, shortness of breath, and fluid retention,” said Dr. Shah. “Our goal with this device is to improve our patient’s quality of life and help keep the patients out of the hospital.”

The addition of CardioMEMS is the latest in new technologies McLaren Greater Lansing has added to its Heart and Vascular Institute. Earlier this month, the hospital announced that it is the first hospital in the Midwest to perform a vascular surgical procedure for aneurysm repair featuring Cydar Maps, an advanced AI technology. 

To learn more about CardioMEMS at McLaren Greater Lansing, click here.

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