LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Inside an operating room at Woodland Heights medical center, Dr. Vivek Mangla is performing a new kind of operation for East Texans suffering from heart failure.
For a little over a week, Dr. Vivek Mangla has been surgically implanting the CardioMems HF System in his patients at the Heart Center inside Woodland Heights Medical Center.
"It is a small sensor which we can place next to the heart and get a real-time reading of the heart pressure," Mangla said.
The sensor that was designed by St.Jude medical allows his team to adjust heart medicine without having the patient come into his office.
"As soon as we see the pressure going we can make changes from my office," Mangla said. "We do not need to have the patient come in. It can also predict future changes so we can be prepared and act proactively."
According to the CDC 5.1 million people in the US have heart failure and this year alone doctors could see around 670,000 new cases. Those numbers are concerning to Mangla who focuses on rural healthcare.
"In a rural area like ours where distances cause a problem and having close access to a physician, this sensor implant can have us know what is going on with the patient instantaneously without them coming into the office," Mangla said.
According to a Woodland Heights press release, The CardioMEMS sensor is designed to last the lifetime of the patient and doesn't require batteries. Once implanted via a minimally invasive surgery, the wireless sensor sends pressure readings to an external patient electronic system. There is no pain or sensation for the patient during the readings. The CardioMEMS HF System allows the patients to transmit critical information about their heart failure status to a clinician on a regular basis, without the need for additional clinic or hospital visits. This provides clinicians with the ability to detect worsening heart failure sooner and adjust treatment to reduce the likelihood that the patient will need to be hospitalized.
Data from a clinical trial showed that the CardioMEMS technology reduces heart failure hospital admissions by up to 37 percent. The CHAMPION trial studied the effectiveness of the CardioMEMS HF System in New York Heart Association (NYHA) Functional Classification System class III heart failure patients who had been hospitalized for heart failure in the previous 12 months. Results of the trial demonstrated a statistically significant 28 percent reduction in the rate of heart failure hospitalizations at six months, and 37 percent reduction in heart failure hospitalizations during an average follow-up duration of 15 months.
Roughly 1.4 million patients in the U.S. have NYHA Class III heart failure, and historically these patients account for nearly half of all heart failure hospitalizations. Even with patients self-monitoring body weight and blood pressure, 25 percent of heart failure patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days, and half of heart failure patients are readmitted within six months. According to the American Heart Association, the estimated direct and indirect cost of heart failure in the U.S. for 2012 was $31 billion and that number is expected to more than double by 2030.
"Woodland Heights will continue its commitment to improving patient care and investing in innovative medical technology such as the CardioMEMS HF System," said Kyle Swift, CEO of Woodland Heights. "We are honored to bring this technology to Lufkin and Angelina County as we find solutions for successful patient outcomes in the diagnosis or treatment of heart failure."
Heart failure not only takes a toll on a person's physical health but also their financial health. This new monitoring system could cut down on hospital readmission cost.
"If you can prevent some of those hospitalizations for advance heart patients this is helping in overall cost savings," Mangla said. A visit for these patients can be in the thousands so it is a big deal that we cut those visits down."