It's a chronic disease affecting millions and it's the number one killer for women. But a local doctor created a new way to fight congestive heart failure with a device smaller than a pencil.
"I think sensors are really gonna be a big part of the future in medicine," says Paul Luetmer, a heart and vascular cardiologist.
It's being called a game changer. The CardioMEMS heart failure system is the first and only FDA approved heart failure monitoring system, giving real-time vital statistics from inside a person's body that doctors can check from any device with Internet access. The technology was developed at the Cleveland Clinic more than 10 years ago.
Dr. Luetmer is one of the first physicians to implant the new sensor.
"It allows us to adjust the medications long before the patient even starts to feel sick, and certainly before they end up in the hospital," he says.
The new device is about the size of a dime. It runs on an external battery so you never have to worry about charging it. The best part is there's absolutely no surgery for installation.
"We enter the vein in the leg, the large vein in the leg with a tube. A catheter is a long tube, and we go up in through the heart into the right side of the heart and into the lungs. And when we position that, we can release the device into the lungs and it'll lodge into place there. And the body just grows a lining of skin over it and it becomes part of a lung and stays there permanently," explains Luetmer.
"It's working wonderfully. They're very pleased with the data that's coming across," says Janet Zurn.
Zurn recently had the new device installed.
"I've got family history of heart disease, and I myself had five bypasses about eight years ago, and they just felt it was really something that needed to be done, and I'm happy to participate," she says.
"This is really, I think, the beginning of a whole new field of medicine. So you're gonna see a lot of these coming out for different diseases," Luetmer says.
During the trial period, the CardioMEMS reduced hospital visits for heart failure patients by 37 percent.