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Wireless device to reduce heart failure hospitalisations: Study

An implanted wireless device manufactured by CardioMEMS, which 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 new study published in The Lancet.

The build-up of fluid in the lungs causes symptoms such as shortness of breath and fluid leaking into the lungs, which is a major cause of hospitalisations, the researchers noted.

The new device is placed in the pulmonary artery in the lung using a catheter in a minimally invasive procedure.

An external antenna alerts the doctor about fluid build-up and also powers the device.

By monitoring the fluid pressure in the lungs using the device, the doctor can adjust the patient’s medications to reduce the pressure levels.

In a study 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, which is a 30% reduction in hospitalisations.

Also, during 15-months of follow-up, patients with devices had 39% reduction in hospitalisations, compared to those who did not.