From your heart to a pillow to your doctor, a new life-saving device
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) —
February is American Heart Month and right now in the U.S., more than 5.7 million people are in heart failure. Now, there's a new, tiny little device that's helping some of them. It's a monitoring system proven to decrease hospitalizations. It's about the size of a dime. It's implanted into a patient's pulmonary artery and then sends real-time updates to doctors when it syncs with a special pillow the patient lies on. It's called CardioMEMS.
It's the first and only heart failure monitoring system that's FDA-approved. There are now a handful of doctors in Las Vegas that offer the implant, but Dr. Pam Ivey was the first in 2015 to offer it to valley residents. She's now performed 34 procedures and said it's life-saving for the patient. It's a quick outpatient procedure and can be done in as little as 20 minutes.
Corinne Johnson received her implant in late December of 2015. She said it's changed her life.
Corinne and her husband Chuck have been married 64 years, and they've been through quite a lot. "Oh God, there was one time when I flat-lined," she said. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Chuck said no matter how scary it is, "It's just something you accept."
"Henderson paramedics were coming to get me so often that Mia knew them," and added, "Mia's our dog," said Corinne.
But now, no more emergency room visits because of CardioMEMS. The internal implant monitors her heart's blood pressure.
"This is the first device that has easily been able to be implanted," said Dr. Ivey. The device sends her team the information they need on a patient's heart's filling pressures, which allows them to alter a patient's medication before that patient experiences symptoms.
"We're trying to get to the root of the problem and address it before all those other things actually occur," Dr. Ivey continued.
Those symptoms include shortness of breath, sweating, nausea and chest pain. "If you go down the list, I had them all," said Corinne. But now those fears and feelings are gone, and all it takes is 20 seconds each day. Chuck gets the machine ready and Corinne lies down on top of a special pillow that reads information from her implant. That data then goes to Dr. Ivey.
"It takes away the guessing anymore," said Dr. Ivey.
"It gives you some relief because you have professionalism at the other end of that machine," said Chuck. And Corinne still has the love on the other end too. "He's been my doctor, my pharmacist, my-my therapist, everything! He's taken such care of me," she told us.