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A Heart That Tweets Your Doctor?

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SOURCE The University of Kansas Hospital

Experimental New Technology Allows Doctors to Monitor Patient Heart Conditions Remotely Via Wireless Messaging - No Unnecessary Hospital Visits During Dangerous Weather

KANSAS CITY, Feb. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Tweets and instant messages are great ways for people to update each other in real-time, but a new messaging technology in the healthcare industry could help the body update doctors instantly from miles away. A new treatment option for heart disease is being tested at The University of Kansas Hospital that could be a breakthrough in telemedicine. Using an implantable monitoring device, the patient can hold a smartphone-type device to the chest and the device will relay info wirelessly from the heart implant to the doctors at the hospital. It allows doctors the ability to better personalize treatment for heart failure patients while giving those patients more control of their chronic condition.

The clinical trial is called LAPTOP-HF (Left Atrial Pressure Monitoring to Optimize Heart Failure Therapy.) Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, an electrophysiologist at The University of Kansas Hospital, said the LAPTOP HF monitor can give heart patients and their doctors critical information immediately. "Before this device, any of these measurements had to be taken here in our office. Now with this technology, we can obtain the information from the patient's home," said Lakkireddy. "It's especially helpful for patients who live a long way from us. We can constantly monitor their condition and give them medication changes any time, rather than waiting for a scheduled appointment."

That's a huge benefit for Larry Stewart, who lives nearly two hours south of the hospital in Bronson, Kansas. Before enrolling in the trial, Stewart and his wife had to make the journey to see Dr. Lakkireddy about every six weeks for congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular heartbeat.

Now, after having the device (which looks like a pacemaker) surgically implanted in his chest, all Stewart has to do each day is hold the small monitor (the size of a smartphone) up to his chest and the readings are electronically sent back to the doctor's office for instant analysis. "It makes me feel better that there's something there that's measuring and keeping an eye on my heart," said Stewart. It also means only making the trip to the doctor's office every three months, while still be monitored regularly, which is especially helpful during winter months when road conditions can be dangerous. Here is a video of how the device works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhxT-p8FE9c

St. Jude Medical developed the monitor. The University of Kansas Hospital is among the 75 sites in the United States chosen to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the device.

More information about the trial is available at http://www.kumed.com/heart-care/clinical-services/heart-care-clinical-trials/laptop-hf

The University of Kansas Hospital is the region's premier academic medical center, providing a full range of care. The hospital is affiliated with the University of Kansas Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions, and their various leading-edge research projects. The constantly growing facility contains 699 staffed beds (plus 24 bassinets) and serves more than 28,000 inpatients annually.  Nine of its medical and surgical specialty areas are ranked nationally by the U.S. News & World Report "Best Hospital" lists, including Cancer (#27), Cardiology & Heart Surgery (#23), Diabetes & Endocrinology (#38), Ear, Nose & Throat (#21), Gastroenterology and GI Surgery (#19), Geriatrics (#18), Nephrology (#35), Neurology & Neurosurgery (#20) and Pulmonology (#17).  The cancer program is part of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute designated program.  The hospital has received Magnet nursing designation, reflecting the quality of care throughout the hospital, an honor awarded to only 6.6 percent of the hospitals nationwide.  The hospital also houses the region's only accredited burn center, the area's only nationally accredited Level I Trauma Center and the area's only Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center recognized by The Joint Commission.  For more information, visit kumed.com.

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