Breathing Easier

Del Salter of Blaine, Minnesota is one of the five million people in the United States who has heart failure.  Every day, he takes twelve medications. Despite that, he felt tired and weak and had trouble controlling his weight from fluid build-up due to a weak heart pump.  Eventually, Dr. Amin Rahmatullah, a heart failure specialist at MHVI convinced him to have a miniaturized, wireless monitoring sensor called CardioMEMS implanted in his pulmonary artery at Mercy Hospital.  Every day since then he has transmitted sensor readings to his cardiologist.

“The data is real time and easy to interpret. We are able to intervene at least two weeks before patients actually start feeling the symptoms,” said Dr. Rahmatullah.  Pulmonary artery pressure increases appear before weight and blood pressure changes, which are often used as indirect measures of worsening heart failure.  Based on the sensor readings, his heart failure doctors and nurses adjust Del’s medications.

“I think it’s miraculous, and I think it has kept me out of the hospital,” said Del. “I feel much better and confident. It’s comforting to know that the numbers are good.”

Cardiologists at the Metropolitan Heart and Vascular Institute at Mercy Hospital are using the CardioMEMS Heart Failure System by St. Jude Medical.  It is the first and only FDA-approved heart failure monitoring device that has proven to significantly reduce hospital admissions.

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