Managing Heart Failure with CardioMEMSTM Implant, Denver
About Heart Failure
When the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands, blood pressure within the heart is elevated, leading to heart failure (HF). Significant HF progression over a period of days is known as acute decompensation and leads to hospitalization. Learn more about heart failure>>
Monitoring Heart Failure
Directly measuring pulmonary artery (PA) pressure via a procedure called a right-heart catheterization is a standard-of-care practice for managing worsening HF in patients who have been hospitalized. However, since HF is a chronic disease, most days are spent outside the hospital. Therefore, clinicians use a number of indirect markers to monitor HF, including:
- Patient self-monitoring with equipment such as blood pressure cuffs and electronic scales.
- In-clinic devices used by health care providers during frequent office visits.
- Implantable devices that alert patients when they detect impedance changes across the thoracic cavity that may be indicative of fluid accumulation in the chest.
In recent years health professionals have found that self and in-clinic monitoring, which are limited by poor sensitivity to detecting subtle HF changes, have resulted in increased admissions to the hospital. Swedish Medical Center is dedicated to offering leading-edge cardiac care and is now offering a new solution to monitoring heart failure-- CardioMEMS monitoring.
The CardioMEMS HF System uses a miniaturized, wireless monitoring sensor that one of our experienced cardiac surgeons implants in the pulmonary artery during a minimally invasive procedure to directly measure PA pressure. The system allows patients to transmit PA pressure data from their homes to their health care providers allowing for personalized and proactive management to reduce the likelihood of hospitalization.
The implantable sensor is a completely sealed capsule that uses microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology, which allows the creation of sensors with measurement stability and energy efficiency. All of the sensor components are made of materials that have been chosen for their durability, robustness, biocompatibility, and insensitivity to changes in body chemistry or biology. The sensor is powered by radio frequency (RF) energy. It is implanted into the pulmonary artery using minimally invasive techniques via a catheter and is designed to last the lifetime of the patient.
The sensor does not have a battery or leads and is very small. Once implanted, the sensor wirelessly sends pressure readings to the external patient electronic system. There is no pain or sensation for the patient during the readings. The electronics transmit the readings to a secure website where it can be seen by the patient’s clinician.
The external measurement system wirelessly tracks frequency and uses it to determine the pressure in the pulmonary artery. At home, HF patients use a portable electronic unit and a special pillow containing an antenna to take daily sensor readings. This is a simple process that takes only a few minutes. The patient’s electronic unit is turned on and the patient lies on the pillow. The electronic unit uses audible signals telling the patient to press the button to initiate a reading. The pressure readings are then wirelessly transmitted to a secure website.
Clinicians access patients’ pressure readings and trending data transmissions using the patient management website, providing valuable clinical insight for guiding treatment decisions. Automated alerts will be sent to health care providers if pressure readings fall outside of prespecified ranges.
The CardioMEMS HF System is a game-changing technology that creates a major opportunity for improving outcomes in chronic HF disease management. The system has several advantages including measuring a direct marker of HF progression, the ability to monitor daily HF status without the need to be in the clinic, and the capability to automatically transmit important data to the clinician’s office.