Michael Campsey, M.D. Director of Cardiology Services at Washington Health System
Michael Campsey, M.D. Director of Cardiology Services at Washington Health System

Washington Health System will be the first facility in Western Pennsylvania outside of Pittsburgh to implant a new miniaturized, wireless monitoring sensor to manage heart failure (HF).  The CardioMEMS HF System is the first and only FDA-approved heart failure monitoring device that has been approved to significantly reduce hospital admission when used by physicians to manage heart failure.

The CardioMEMS HF System features a sensor that is implanted in the pulmonary artery (PA) during a non-surgical procedure to directly monitor the PA pressure.  Increased PA pressures appear before weight and blood pressure changes, which are often used as indirect measures of worsening heart failure.  The new system allows patients to transmit daily sensor readings from their homes to their health care providers allowing for personalized and proactive management to reduce the likelihood of hospitalization.

“We are very excited to offer this state of the art technology to our patients with heart failure.  The CardioMEMS HF system gives the heart failure team an opportunity to intervene before the symptoms of congestive heart failure occur” said Dr. Michael Campsey MD, Director of Cardiology Services at Washington Health System and physician who performed the procedure.  “This new technology is being implemented as part of a system wide approach to treating heart failure patients in the hospital and ambulatory settings”.

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 5.1 million Americans have heart failure, with 670,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Patients with heart failure are frequently hospitalized, have a reduced quality of life and face a higher risk of death.


The CardioMEMS sensor is designed to last the lifetime of the patient and doesn’t require batteries. Once implanted, 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. 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.


“Washington Health System recognizes that home monitoring devices, such as the CardioMEMS Heart Failure System, are vital tools for helping doctors partner with patients to help them maintain good health and stay out of the hospital,” said Gary B. Weinstein, President and CEO.  “Achieving successful outcomes in the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure helps to both control health care costs and improve quality of life.”


The CardioMEMS HF System, from global medical device manufacturer St. Jude Medical, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for commercial use in the U.S. For more information, visit http://www.heartfailureanswers.com/



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