Relaxin for Acute Heart Failure: 2014 Medical Innovation No. 7
A New Era in Heart Failure Management Starts Today
The Problem of Heart Failure
Heart failure represents one of the most rapidly growing forms of cardiovascular disease. About 6 million Americans live with heart failure, and that number is expected to double in the next decade. Heart failure is one of the most common causes of hospitalization, and it is associated with a high degree of disability in many patients. There are many causes of heart failure. Regardless of the cause, the build-up of pressure and fluid in the heart and lungs is the main cause of heart failure symptoms, disability, and hospitalization.
From Crisis Management to Stability
The new heart failure sensor is part of the CardioMEMS HF System, which consists of the sensor itself, a specialized catheter designed to deliver the sensor to a branch of a pulmonary artery, and an electronic system that acquires and processes information from the implanted sensor and relays that information to the physician via a secure website. The sensor has no battery, so there is nothing to run out or to be replaced. It is powered by the external electronics.
This heart failure sensor is highly reliable, with no sensor failures occurring in several hundred patients followed for several years in studies done prior to FDA approval.
The system measures pulmonary artery pressure, which is a reflection of the pressure and fluid build-up in the heart and lungs of heart failure patients. Prior to this system, physicians waited until patients became more symptomatic before taking action. This reactive approach to heart failure management did little to improve quality of life or decrease the risk of heart failure hospitalization. We were in an era of crisis management for heart failure.
With this new system, pressures and fluid levels can be proactively treated so as to avoid such crises. Pressures and fluid levels may be kept in a normal range on a day-to-day basis so as to avoid worsening of heart failure and to keep patients out of the hospital. The pivotal trial for the CardioMEMS HF System confirmed this in demonstrating a significant improvement in quality of life and a marked reduction in heart failure hospitalizations with the use of this system.
Now that the system is approved for use in heart failure patients, specifically those in NYHA Class III (NYHA is a system of classifying heart failure) with a history of heart failure hospitalization in the past 12 months, we are moving into an era of stability management in heart failure.
Video: Heart Failure Story: Sara Campos
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