CardioMEMS device helps to prevent heart failure

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Heart failure is one of the most common reasons why seniors end up in the hospital. But a tiny, new device is helping to prevent that. (WPVI)

Heart failure is one of the most common reasons why seniors end up in the hospital. But a tiny, new device is helping to prevent that.

Congestive heart failure can be very frustrating because problems can be building without someone noticing.

And those issues can get out control quickly. That's where this new device aims to help. It was approved last year and it is already helping some seniors in our area.

Betty Bupp says heart failure is slowing her down.

"I have to take my time - I wobble a little bit," said Betty.

And because climbing stairs leaves her short of breath, she's had to adapt.

"The bathroom is on the first floor, so I don't use the upstairs at all. And in the basement - they've relocated my pantry to my dining room," she said.

Even with medications, controlling her weakened heart has been difficult.

Doctor Robert Mohapatra of Lourdes Health System hopes the CardioMEMS system will change that.

"I would see her in the office, and she would look fantastic. And 24 hours later, she would end up in the hospital," said Dr. Mohapatra.

You see, in heart failure, the weakened muscle can't pump enough blood, or have enough force. The back-up increases pressure in the artery to the lungs, causing symptoms like coughing or wheezing, swelling or weakness.

"What we have learned is these symptoms often take weeks to develop, and that there are changes in the patient's body prior to that," said Dr. Mohapatra.

So CardioMEMS is designed to pick up those early changes.

With a catheter, it's put into the pulmonary artery. It monitors pressure round the clock and with a special pillow that acts as an antenna, it wirelessly sends readings to a secure website, so doctors can keep watch, and take action before symptoms start.

Since getting the CardioMEMS in June, doctors had to adjust Betty's prescriptions, but she didn't need to come into the office.

It saves her time and gives her peace of mind.

"It's a little bit of additional security for patients, knowing that they're being followed and doctors are keeping an eye on them," said Dr. Mohapatra.

Early studies show CardioMEMS cut the re-admission rate by nearly 40%.

The device came to our area this past Spring. It's now being used at a handful of medical centers including Lady of Lourdes, Hahnemann University Hospital, St. Mary's Medical Center and Temple University Hospital.

There is a slight risk for complications when the device is implanted, so as always, it's best to talk to your healthcare provider about what is best for you or your loved one.

Related Topics:
healthhealthcheckheart attackheart defectsheart diseasemedical
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