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Wireless Implant Procedure at CHH Helps Monitor Heart Failure Patients From Home

July 07, 2021

Heart patients in the northwest region diagnosed with congestive heart failure can have their condition remotely monitored daily thanks to a new outpatient procedure now performed at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (CHH) by Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute cardiologists and CHH Interventional radiologists. The procedure uses technology known as CardioMEMS, a battery-free sensor implanted into the patient’s pulmonary artery to help monitor the pressure from the artery. Once inserted, heart failure patients spend a few minutes each day at home using a special pillow that acts as an antenna to read the implanted sensor. The pillow then transmits the pressure readings through a secure website to the local cardiology office and data is reviewed by the patient’s medical team. Registered Nurse Maureen Spierto then follows up with each patient after reviewing their daily readings with the care team. “Depending on the results," she said, "the medical team can adjust a patient’s treatment and medication if needed to help prevent future complications or the need for hospitalization. If we see a spike in the numbers we can ask the patient if they did or ate anything different that day that may have affected their numbers. It’s amazingly precise.” Patient Irene Matava of Torrington was among the first patients who underwent the procedure at CHH. She currently lies down for a few minutes each morning on a special cushion that actually speaks to ensure that she is positioned correctly. Irene finds the process quick and easy and has given her more peace of mind knowing critical information about her condition is being constantly evaluated by the care team. “I can go about my daily life knowing that doctor and nurses are always making sure my condition is keeping in check," said patient Irene Matava. "It’s really convenient and simple to use.” CHH interventional radiologists, who begin the process by implanting the device, have successfully completed seven procedures to date with the clinic currently monitoring an additional seven patients. “Thanks to everyone who worked tirelessly to implement this new technique at Charlotte and to our Heart & Vascular Institute colleagues and the Abbott Company support team.” said Dr. Tamir Friedman, a member of the CHH interventional radiology team who, with colleague Dr. Daniel Kase, conducts the implant surgeries at the hospital. “Since we began last fall, none of our current patients have been admitted to the hospital for heart failure decompensation which is a big step in advancing cardiac and heart failure care in the Northwest region,” said Dr. Joseph Abreu, Cardiologist with HHC Cardiovascular Group Torrington. (In photo at top, Dr. Abreu, right, consults with Dr. Friedman.) The team at the Institute’s Northwest Region practice in Torrington, above, includes practice cardiologists, APRNs Alicia Whiting and Michele Sanford, PA Robert Drouin, and RN Maureen Spierto. They are excited to provide this exciting new technology to help diagnose and treat Congestive Heart Failure in their hospital and community. “We are very grateful for the collaboration and support from our colleagues at the Heart & Vascular Institute leaders, including Drs. Howard Haronian and Jason Gluck, who have been instrumental in the orientation and training of our staff," said Abreu. "It’s improved quality of care, decreased hospitalization and enhanced the quality of life of our heart failure patient population.” For more information about CardioMEMS or to make an appointment at the Heart & Vascular Institute Torrington office, call 860.489.1132