CardioMEMS: Preventing Heart Failure at Home

CardioMEMS: Preventing Heart Failure at Home

February is American Heart Health Month

Picture this: a small device in your pulmonary artery that can send your health data to a doctor daily – and all you have to do is lie on a special pillow for a few minutes every day.

This is what’s possible with the CardioMEMS™ system, a device the cardiologists at Holland Hospital can use to monitor a patient’s heart and reduce their risk of hospitalization by preventing heart failure.

This innovative system is helping Holland Hospital patients like Lloyd Shumaker stay safe, healthy and out of the hospital.

What is CardioMEMS?

The CardioMEMs™ system is a small implant the size of a paperclip that wirelessly sends data about the patient’s vascular pressure and heart rate directly to the cardiologist. Based on that information, the cardiologist can change medication or adjust doses to prevent heart failure and hospitalization.

In a quick outpatient procedure, the cardiologist inserts the implant into the pulmonary artery. The patient is sent home with a special pillow that receives information from the implant and shares it with the doctor. The patient just needs to lie on the pillow for a few minutes every morning.

“The device stays with the patient forever,” says Marcel Letourneau, DO, a board-certified physician specializing in interventional cardiology. “You can't feel it, it won't beep in airport security and it’s powered by the pillow without the need for a battery change or charge.”

Who is CardioMEMS for?

CardioMEMS is for patients with congestive heart failure, a condition where the heart muscle does not pump blood as well as it needs to, causing fluid buildup in the lungs, swelling in the legs and other serious symptoms. A cardiologist will suggest a CardioMEMS implant when the patient needs closer monitoring to prevent heart failure.

“The beauty of CardioMEMS is that it gives us the patient’s data in real-time, every day,” says Dr. Letourneau. “The goal is to keep patients out of the hospital.”

Lloyd Shumaker’s story

Lloyd Shumaker experienced multiple hospitalizations last year due to coronary artery disease and heart failure. Even though Lloyd participates in Holland Hospital’s telehealth program and is closely monitored by the hospital’s transitional heart failure team, his symptoms continued to progress.

“He kept putting on fluid weight because his heart can't get rid of it,” says his wife, Mary Shumaker. “He would end up in the hospital for four or five days on IV medications to get rid of all the fluid.”

Lloyd’s cardiologist recommended CardioMEMS to reduce his risk of re-hospitalization. “It gives the doctor a heads-up when there’s fluid build-up so they can adjust his medication to make sure he won't end up in the hospital again,” says Mary.

Thanks to CardioMEMS, Mary says she and Lloyd experience much more peace of mind knowing his heart is being monitored daily by the cardiology team at Holland Hospital.

Where can I learn more?

Holland Hospital offers convenient access to exceptional cardiology and vascular care, from prevention and diagnosis to treatment, rehabilitation and home health.