Mercy Health - The Heart Institute has Advanced Technology Available to Treat Patients with Congestive Heart Failure

Mercy Health - Cincinnati, which provides advanced, compassionate, quality care in your neighborhood through its care network, announces that it has the latest technology available for congestive heart failure (CHF) patients of The Heart Institute. This technology allows patients to monitor their condition easily and remotely from home, helping them be well and remain out of the hospital.

Known as CardioMEMS, this FDA-approved monitoring device alerts the patient’s care team to changes in pulmonary pressure, a key indicator of CHF. Based on the pressure reading, the patient’s doctor can modify the patient’s medications accordingly to keep the patient out of the hospital. CardioMEMS is for Class III CHF patients with reduced or preserved left ventricular ejection fraction who are prone to hospital readmission.

CHF is a condition in which a weak heart does not pump adequately, leading to build-up of fluid around the lungs and surrounding tissues. If not managed, it can lead to serious conditions, including kidney damage or failure, liver damage, heart valve problems and rhythm problems. However, congestive heart failure is a notoriously difficult condition to manage and a disproportionate number of patients with CHF find themselves readmitted to the hospital when their symptoms flare up. Approximately 90 percent of patients admitted to a hospital for CHF have pulmonary congestion (excess fluid). Episodes of pulmonary congestion can lead to a downward spiral of progressive cardiac deterioration and mortality.

"Previously, the only way we had to monitor patients was by their symptoms or their weight measured daily at home or when they came into the office. However, once a patient's symptoms are obvious or they’ve seen a weight increase, it may be too late to intervene with medication adjustments," says Mercy Health Physician and cardiologist Lynne Wagoner, MD, who leads Mercy Health's CHF program. "CardioMEMS gives us a chance to make a difference early and prevent a hospitalization since a patient's pulmonary pressure will go up before his or her weight."

Cardiologists implant the dime-sized device into the patient’s pulmonary artery in the cath lab during a minimally-invasive outpatient procedure. From the convenience of home, the patient lies down daily on a sensor pad that reads the patient’s pulmonary pressure and sends the reading wirelessly to a computer that the physician can then see and interpret.

Many CHF patients have other illnesses that make their condition hard to control. CardioMEMS tells doctors if a patient’s pressure has increased, which indicates a fluid buildup, or decreased, which is a sign of dehydration and an issue in patients with, for example chronic kidney disease in addition to CHF. This allows doctors to adjust medications to keep the patient balanced between being too wet and too dry. Medication adjustments can help patients avoid the emergency room and stay home where their physician can monitor the patient using CardioMEMS readings.

"Based on the reading, we modify the patient's medication therapy to keep them symptom-free and out of the hospital," says Mercy Health Physician and interventional cardiologist Jason Paquin, MD, FACC, FSCAI, who leads the CardioMEMS implant program at Mercy Health – Anderson Hospital. "Studies indicate that patients with CardioMEMS devices had 78% fewer readmissions within 30 days for heart failure and 30 months out from their implant, they had 37% fewer readmissions. By keeping patients at home and out of the hospital, this device can improve their quality of life."

"Diet and exercise are important factors in keeping CHF patients healthy," adds Wagoner, who leads CHF support groups for patients and their families. "CardioMEMS is one more tool in our arsenal for caring for motivated CHF patients who are interested in improving their health and quality of life." Physicians can refer patients to Drs. Wagoner and Paquin for CardioMEMS evaluation.

Dr. Wagoner practices from Mercy Health - The Heart Institute, Fairfield and Anderson, 513-751-4222 and Dr. Paquin practices from Mercy Health - The Heart Institute, Anderson, Adams County and Clermont, 513-624-2070.