New Heart Technology Now Available at Aiken Regional

Monday, March 8, 2021
New Heart Technology Now Available at Aiken Regional

Aiken Regional Medical Centers now offers a more convenient technology to monitor heart failure patients. The Abbott CardioMEMS™ HF System is designed to wirelessly measure and monitor daily changes in the patient’s heart rate and pulmonary artery pressure, an early indicator of worsening heart failure.


Image courtesy of Abbott

CardioMEMS™ HF System is the first and only FDA-approved remote heart failure monitoring system. “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,” said Weems Pennington III, MD, with 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 will turn on their in-home unit and lie on a pillow to initiate the reading. The unit uses audible signals to initiate a reading.” Only a few minutes are required each day to wirelessly transmit the data to a secure website where the patient’s clinician can review.

“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,” said Ashley Blalock, DNP, APRN, NP-C, CHFN, with 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 gives our team the ability to make early, proactive and personalized patient-care management decisions to help the patient stay well and avoid hospitalization.”

Heart failure is a chronic condition that can entail frequent hospitalizations, and 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,” said Blalock. “Symptoms may include shortness of breath, persistent coughing or wheezing, fatigue and swelling in the legs and ankles from fluid buildup.”

Avoiding in-person appointments and hospitalization is also especially helpful to heart failure patients who may be more susceptible to severe illness, if they are exposed to COVID-19, 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.

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