Pali Momi implants new heart disease monitor

Pali Momi implants new heart disease monitor

AIEA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new technology is allowing doctors at the Pali Momi Medical Center to prevent and detect heart failure in patients.

The CardioMEMS HF System is the first of its kind approved by the Federal Drug Administration and was implanted by the Pali Momi Medical Center for the first time Wednesday.

The 30 to 40-minute procedure allows doctors to insert a catheter through the groin, the heart, then in to the pulmonary artery where the device is implanted.

“[The patient doesn't] notice it, it doesn't set off any alarms at the airport, and it's compatible with MRI. So once it's in there, the patient doesn't feel a thing,” said Dr. John Kao, Pali Momi Medical Center medical director and cardiologist.

After patients undergo the procedure, they are sent home with a sensor located in a pillow, which gives physicians the ability to monitor the well-being of their patients every hour of every day.

When a heart irregularity is detected, the sensor will securely and immediately send the information to the patient's physician. Patients can also be notified about the irregularity.

“With this technology, we're able to work with the patient's own cardiologist and their own primary care physician by helping them provide the information and helping them take care of it,” Kao said. “Or if the primary care physician or cardiologist would like us to, we can take over the heart failure portion of that patient's care. It's completely up to the referring physician.”

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 670,000 Americans are diagnosed with heart disease yearly, and in total, 5.1 million suffer from heart failure.

“One of the things about heart failure is that the problem starts long before symptoms occur. So the way we treated heart failure, is we relied on patients to tell us how they're feeling. But unfortunately, by the time clinical symptoms show, patients are already pretty sick,” Kao said.

Doctors hope to decrease heart disease with early symptom recognition by using the CardioMEMS.

“[This allows us] to be very proactive in treating our patients. We can take care of them before they have symptoms, before they start to feel bad, we can ingest their medications and prevent them from getting worse. Prevent them from getting in to the hospital,” Kao said.

Hospital visits from heart disease patients decreased by nearly 37 percent in clinical trials and doctors at Pali Momi are excited to help prevent heart failure.

“We've never had this capability before - to basically get instantaneous patient information,” Kao said. “So it's really exciting technology.”

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