Providence expects ‘incredible’ demand for tiny heart sensor

Cardiologists with Providence Heart and Vascular Institute have become the first in the Northwest to implant a tiny wireless heart sensor.

The device, called a CardioMEMS HF System, allows the doctor to monitor the patient from their home. So far, Providence St. Vincent doctors have implanted three of the devices, and they expect to do many more.

“It’s going to be an incredibly large number of patients,” said Dr. Jacob Abraham, medical director of the Center for Advanced Heart Disease at Providence.

The device is the first of its kind, he said. Wireless and battery-less, it is implanted with a catheter into a pulmonary artery that carries blood from the heart to the lungs.

“It can monitor pressure inside the heart,” Abraham said.

Previously, doctors had to rely on imprecise surrogates — weight, a physical exam and symptoms.

Blood pressure begins to change days or weeks before symptoms manifest, so the new device catches problems much sooner. The patient lies on a special pillow once a day that transmits readings to their doctor.

“It allows us to make adjustments to their medications before symptoms develop,” Abraham said. “It allows you to avoid costly hospitalizations.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the device for people with severe symptoms and who have been hospitalized in the 12 months preceding implantation.

Data from a clinical trial showed that CardioMEMS reduces heart failure admissions by up to 37 percent. It is made by St. Jude Medical.

Feb 9, 2015
Elizabeth Hayes
Staff Reporter-
Portland Business Journal


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