An implantable device that monitors fluid build up in the lungs of heart failure patients and alerts doctors when intervention is needed can significantly reduce hospitalisations, according to a study published in The Lancet. The device, manufactured by CardioMEMS, is placed in the pulmonary artery in the lung using a catheter in a minimally invasive procedure. An external antenna alerts doctors about fluid build-up and also powers the device. By monitoring the fluid pressure in the lungs, doctors can adjust the patient’s medication to reduce the pressure levels. In a study conducted by researchers, 550 patients with moderately severe heart failure were randomised to receive the device plus standard of care or standard medical care only.
During the first six months, 83 patients with devices were hospitalised for heart-failure related problems, compared to 120 patients who did not receive the device, a 30% reduction in hospitalisations.
During 15-months of follow-up, patients with devices had 39% reduction in hospitalisations, compared to those who did not.