New Tool Watches for Symptoms of Worsening Heart Failure 

Man meditatingMay 25, 2021

The Abbott CardioMEMS™ HF System, now available at Aiken Regional Medical Centers, is the first and only FDA-approved remote monitoring system for heart failure. The system is designed to wirelessly measure and monitor indicators of worsening heart failure in the patient’s heart rate and pulmonary artery pressure.

How the CardioMEMS™ HF System Works

“The patient’s pulmonary artery pressure data is collected via a small sensor, roughly the size of a dime, that is implanted through a minimally invasive heart catheterization, in the patient’s pulmonary artery,” says Weems Pennington III, MD, of Aiken Regional Medical Centers and Carolina Heart and Vascular Center. “Once implanted, the sensor can wirelessly send pressure readings to the external patient electronic system. Each day, the patient turns on their in-home unit and lies on a pillow to initiate the reading.”

It takes only a few minutes to wirelessly transmit the data to a secure website where the patient’s clinician can review the results.

“Traditionally we’ve focused on physiological markers, such as patient weight and blood pressure, to detect worsening heart failure. However, these markers typically appear later and relying on them can leave little time to respond before hospitalization is necessary,” says Ashley Blalock, DNP, APRN, NP-C, CHFN, of Aiken Regional Medical Centers and Carolina Heart and Vascular Center. “The data transmitted through CardioMEMS™ can provide indicators of worsening heart failure, even before the patient begins showing symptoms. This allows our team the ability to make early, proactive and personalized patient-care-management decisions to help the patient stay well and avoid hospitalization.”

Avoiding in-person appointments and hospitalization is especially helpful to heart failure patients who may be more susceptible to severe illness due to in-person contact.

The CardioMEMS™ HF System sensor is powered by radio frequency energy and designed for lifetime use. The patient never feels the sensor and can carry out normal, daily activities.

To schedule an appointment with a cardiologist, call 803-761-6970.

Heart Failure Patient Describes CardioMEMS™ as Comforting and Easy to Use

“It’s very comforting to know that my condition is being monitored each and every day,” says patient Patrick Casey of Aiken, who has been living with heart failure for four years. He began using CardioMEMS™ this past January and now uses the monitor every evening at home. Frequent visits to his cardiologist are no longer necessary to stay on top of his health.

“I am very grateful to Ashley, who set me up with CardioMEMS™,” says Casey. “She is always on top of my care. Dr. [Gregory] Eaves [an interventional cardiologist with the Carolina Heart and Vascular Center] has been another outstanding specialist to work with.” Casey also shared that CardioMEMS™ was very easy to set up and is extremely easy to use.

About Heart Failure

Heart failure is a chronic condition that can entail frequent hospitalizations. It develops when the heart muscle weakens and is unable to pump sufficient amounts of blood and oxygen throughout the body.

“The condition worsens over time and can be caused by persistent high blood pressure, heart attack, valve disease and other forms of heart disease or birth defects,” says Blalock. “Symptoms may include shortness of breath, persistent coughing or wheezing, fatigue and swelling in the legs and ankles from fluid buildup.”

Named by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association®, Aiken Regional Medical Centers is certified as a Primary Heart Attack Center (PHAC). This certification recognizes the hospital’s dedication to providing superior cardiac care to the Aiken community.