LGMC Utilizing Advanced Heart Monitoring Solution
When a patient survives a heart attack, a common concern is, “When will the next one be?” The question may be easier to answer with the newest advance in heart monitoring technology now available at Lafayette General Medical Center (LGMC).
Cardiologists with Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS) at Lafayette General are the area’s most prolific at implanting a new miniaturized, wireless heart monitor called the CardioMEMS system. CardioMEMS is a tiny implantable sensor that measures pressure in the pulmonary artery, which carries blood from the heart to the lungs. The sensor then communicates wirelessly with a home-based port, sent home with the patient, which can then transmit its data by cellular signal to the care provider daily. CIS has a designated clinician that monitors each reading.
“This is an exciting new device,” explains Dr. Siby Ayalloore, CIS Cardiologist. “What happens with heart failure is that people can’t breathe, and they get fluid build-up in their lungs. What this device does is allow us to measure fluid in people when they’re at home, before they actually get sick.”
Dr. Ayalloore explains that, prior to this device, detecting the signals that indicated potential heart failure occurred close to the state of hospitalization. In heart failure patients, every trip to the hospital due to heart failure increases mortality. “So, the question becomes, ‘How can we stop them from needing to go to the hospital?’ If we can measure and make adjustments early on, we can manage their behavior so they won’t need hospitalization,” Dr. Ayalloore explains. “Now we can measure fluids almost 20 days before they would require hospitalization, and can make adjustments at home to keep patients active as functional members of society and out of the hospital.”
A clinical trial conducted by St. Jude Medical, Inc., showed a 57% reduction rate in mortality when pulmonary artery pressure is controlled, and a 43% reduction in hospitalizations after installing the CardioMEMS system.
An added benefit that Dr. Ayalloore touts is the ability to direct therapy if a patient reports symptoms. Reading the patient’s pressure, the CIS team can tell what the patient needs to feel better. “Another thing we can do is properly diagnose people,” adds Dr. Ayalloore. “People come in, and all they know is that they’re short of breath. So, the initial assumption is heart failure. When we have a monitor, we can say, ‘no, the pressure level is normal, something else is causing this.’ So, now you can give appropriate care because, if you don’t find what the real problem is, you’re not solving it.”