New implant device remotely monitors heart failure patients at Northwestern Memorial

Aug 06, 2008

Chest pain and shortness of breath are common symptoms that send tens of thousands of heart failure (HF) patients into U.S. hospitals each month. Cardiologists at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital may be able to curb such visits for some of their HF patients as they recently became Chicago's first researchers using a new wireless pressure sensor technology that allows them to track the pulmonary artery pressure of the subjects while these subjects remain at home.

"Some heart failure patients spend a lot of time in and out of the hospital due to chest pain and trouble breathing," says John B. O'Connell, MD, co-director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, director of its Center for Heart Failure and professor of medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. "At any time, such as when the subject is beginning to feel poorly, we immediately get readings of pulmonary pressure. We are hopeful we can avoid a hospitalization by adjusting the subject's medication based on the pressure recording. As we evaluate the CardioMEMS Wireless Pressure Monitoring System, we see great potential to increase convenience to patients and hospital efficiency by cutting back on frequent trips to the emergency room."

The implanted pressure sensor is about the size of a standard paperclip. It is implanted into the subject's pulmonary artery through a catheter-based procedure from the groin region. The technology that allows for subjects to get readings remotely from home is a proprietary electronic monitoring system that works when they lie on a pillow containing an antenna that interacts with the implanted device to get readings on heart and lung pressures. Northwestern Memorial has implanted three subjects to date and seven more are planned as part of the CHAMPION (CardioMEMS Heart Sensor Allows Monitoring of Pressure to Improve Outcomes in NYHA Class III Patients) clinical study.

As O'Connell explains, when your heart doesn't pump normally, adequate blood (oxygen and nutrients) may not reach your body tissues. When this occurs, the body believes that there is not enough fluid inside its vessels. The body's hormone and nervous systems try to make up for this (or compensate) by holding on to sodium and water in the body, and by increasing heart rate—all of which are symptoms often seen in HF patients, but in many cases, can be managed with medication. The back pressure in the lungs due to the inability of the heart to pump the blood effectively can be measured and transmitted by this device.

With this system, pressure data is transmitted to a secure database that makes the data available to physicians from a proprietary Web site. Data can also be made available to physicians on a handheld device, like a BlackBerry for instance.

Source: Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Explore further: Liver transplant recipient marks 25th anniversary

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A medical lab for the home

Nov 04, 2014

Fraunhofer FIT demonstrates a mobile wireless system that monitors the health of elderly people in their own homes, using miniature sensors. Besides non-invasive sensors this platform integrates technology ...

Remote healthcare for an aging population

Sep 30, 2014

An aging population and an increased incidence of debilitating illnesses such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease means there is pressure on technology to offer assistance with healthcare - monitoring and treatment. Research ...

Recommended for you

Ebola scare boosts business for US company

2 hours ago

The Ebola scare has subsided in the United States, at least temporarily, but an Alabama manufacturer is still trying to catch up with a glut of orders for gear to protect against the disease.

Thai parliament votes to ban commercial surrogacy (Update)

10 hours ago

Thailand's parliament has voted to ban commercial surrogacy after outrage erupted over the unregulated industry following a series scandals including the case of an Australian couple accused of abandoning a baby with Down's ...

Doctor behind 'free radical' aging theory dies

Nov 25, 2014

Dr. Denham Harman, a renowned scientist who developed the most widely accepted theory on aging that's now used to study cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses, has died in Nebraska at age 98.

Mexican boy who had massive tumor recovering

Nov 25, 2014

An 11-year-old Mexican boy who had pieces of a massive tumor removed and who drew international attention after U.S. officials helped him get treatment in the southwestern U.S. state of New Mexico is still recovering after ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.