Kenosha cardioMEMs

Elizabeth Wojtowicz, in wheelchair, is pictured with, from left, Dr. Prakash Shah, Dr. Setu Trivedi, cardiovascular invasive specialist Brian Kevek, nurses Kelly Magee, JoEllen Fox, Beth Graceffa and Jessica Kope, Dr. Anthony LoCurto and Dr. Dajun Wang. Wojtowicz was implanted with a remote monitoring device to help treat her heart failure.

Heart failure is an unfortunate reality for many Americans. More than 5 million residents suffer from the chronic condition, brought on from years of wear and tear on the heart from a variety of reasons.

Heart failure and its symptoms can be debilitating.

Simple tasks like going for a walk or gardening can leave patients short of breath and fatigued. Patients begin to experience fluid build-up around their heart, which can lead to these symptoms, hospitalization and death if left untreated.

For most patients, by the time symptoms arrive, there is little they can do but seek help, and often are hospitalized for several days while doctors get their fluid levels back to normal. Symptoms normally present several days after changes have begun to occur in a person.

Many heart failure symptoms can be treated with medication adjustments, but the challenge has been how medical teams can stay connected to patients to monitor artery pressure levels without the patient making daily visits to the doctor.

Enter remote monitoring technology.

Known as the CardioMEMS HF system, remote monitoring allows physicians to help people enjoy a more normal life while managing heart failure. Here’s how it works:

A sensor is implanted in a patient’s pulmonary artery to wirelessly measure and monitor the blood pressure inside the patient’s heart. The patient goes home with a device that he or she plugs in once a day to read the sensor, which remotely shares the information with the medical team via a secured website.

If the medical team sees a change, the patient receives a call to recommend a medication increase or decrease. The immediacy of that information exchange means a change is addressed before fluid can build up around the heart. This new technology has shown to help reduce hospital readmissions and improve quality of life for heart failure patients.

Recently, this new technology was implanted in a patient for the first time in Kenosha by the team at the Aurora Medical Center. This development creates a win for heart failure patients by allowing them to get back to what they love most — living.

Dr. Prakash Shah is a cardiologist at Aurora Medical Center in Kenosha, and his team of experts recently implanted the first patient with the CardioMEMs remote monitoring device. To learn more about the team’s capability, contact them at 262-948-6630.