PITTSBURGH (Ivanhoe Newswire/WTVM) - Six million Americans suffer from congestive heart failure, a weakening of the heart muscle that causes shortness of breath, fatigue and low energy. Damage to the heart can't be cured but a new device allows doctors to monitor patients in real time and intervene quickly if the symptoms get worse.
For the past 20 years, Wayne Mori has struggled with heart problems leading to congestive heart failure. For years, he and his wife Deloris were able to enjoy life and travel, until several months ago.
Mori says, "Over the winter I could tell, I didn't have my strength like I did before."
A small wireless sensor, weighing less than a coin, may help keep Mori on track. Using a catheter, doctors insert it into the pulmonary artery where it lodges in a pulmonary vessel.
Michael Mathier, MD, Cardiologist at UPMC in Pittsburgh says, "It can tell us remotely what the pressure is within that vessel."
Every morning, Mori lies on top of a special pillow, which communicates with the implant.
"That pillow transmits an electronic signal to the device and then receives a reflected signal back from the device," Dr. Mathier explains.
Dr. Mathier can check the data daily from his office. Increasing pressure could be an early sign that heart failure is worsening.
For Mori, prevention could be as simple as an adjustment to his heart medication.
The FDA recently approved the CardioMems system for use in patients hospitalized in the previous year with severe heart failure. Dr. Mathier says early data shows a decrease in the number of times a patient using the CardioMems system needed to be admitted to the hospital.