Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Medical Reports: Helping Heart Patients
Heart failure affects more than five million people in the U.S. Even the slightest change in diet or routine can turn into an emergency. Seven's Diana Diaz shows us how a new, tiny device is proving to be a big help to heart patients.
WSVN -- For George Marra, living with heart failure means spending a lot of time in hospitals and doctor's offices. His main issue, keeping fluid levels in his lungs under control.
George is part of a trial for a device that's already changing his life. Doctors implant a tiny sensor that measures pressure in the pulmonary artery, which carries blood from the heart to the lungs.
Dr. Nicholas Chronos: "If you were a really sick patient in a hospital, we'd be measuring that with tubes going into your lungs, but this device allows us to measure that in your home."
George sends daily pressure readings to a central monitoring site.
George Marra: "In the morning, I get up and go in and lay on the pillow, and it takes a reading and transmits it over the Internet to St. Joe's, and if there's a problem, they let me know."
Dr. Nicholas Chronos says the daily updates allow him to identify problems quicker and keep patients out of the hospital.
Dr. Nicholas Chronos: "Before, we'd wait for George to get sick. He would turn up in an ER, get admitted, we have given the diuretic, but now we can phone him up everyday and tell him, 'Hey, you are doing very well. Just stay where you are or you need to take some more diuretic.'"
Just a couple minutes a day keeps George's heart in check and his mind at ease.
George Marra: "I can honestly say I'm even better, like the Energizer bunny."
Diana Diaz: "Because the remote sensor system sends information through phone lines and the Internet, doctors say they're able to monitor a patient's condition almost anywhere."