Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can’t pump blood throughout the body as well as it should. This can cause symptoms like shortness of breath, persistent coughing or wheezing, fatigue and swelling in the legs and ankles from fluid buildup. Heart failure is a chronic condition and can result in patients being frequently admitted to the hospital.
One of the earliest signs that heart failure is worsening is a measurement of the pressure in the pulmonary artery (the artery that moves blood from the heart to the lungs). This begins to happen days to weeks before symptoms develop. We often measure pulmonary artery pressure at one moment in time through a procedure called a right heart catheterization in the hospital.
Today, however, there is a new remote monitoring option called the CardioMEMS HF System that allows heart failure patients to be monitored from home.
What is the CardioMEMS Heart Failure System?
The CardioMEMS HF System consists of a small sensor (size of a paper clip) that is placed directly in the pulmonary artery as well as a home monitoring unit that you can use to take daily measurements. The sensor is implanted during a minimally invasive procedure, is designed for lifetime use and does not need a battery or replaceable parts.
Once the device is implanted, you will wirelessly transmit daily readings of your pulmonary artery pressure through the monitoring unit all from the comfort of your own home. The data is then wirelessly, and securely, transmitted to your heart failure team. This process takes only a few minutes!
A heart failure cardiologist reviews the data and will contact you if additional action is needed. These daily readings help cardiologists proactively intervene before you develop heart failure symptoms. Some of the other benefits of CardioMEMS System include:
- Improved quality of life
- Decreased heart failure hospitalizations
- Decreased pulmonary artery pressures
- The system is also the only management tool shown to be effective in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF)
Who is a candidate for CardioMEMS?
The CardioMEMS remote monitoring system is approved for patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class III heart failure and who have been hospitalized for heart failure in the previous year. In addition, Penn Medicine is currently enrolling patients in a clinical trial evaluating CardioMEMS in patients with NYHA class III heart failure who may not have had a heart failure hospitalization in the prior year, but currently have signs of congestion determined via a blood test (elevated BNP level).
Penn Medicine has been monitoring patients with the CardioMEMS device for several years and is the only hospital in the region that is approved to use CardioMEMS system as part of the University of Pennsylvania Registry of Patients with CardioMEMS.
Dr. Monique Tanna is a Penn Medicine heart failure cardiologist with special expertise in the CardioMEMS system. To schedule an appointment, call 800-789-7366 or talk to your physician today.