Lifewatch: Sensor heart monitors

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - Heart failure affects more than five million people in the United States, and that number is expected to double in the next 30 years.  It's estimated that heart failure hospitalizations cost $33-billion a year.

Researchers are looking for ways to cut down on hospital stays for patients with bad hearts, by monitoring patients from home.

Walter Pieschel is part of a trial where doctors can keep an eye on his heart with a small sensor implanted in his pulmonary artery.  The sensor monitors blood pressure and transmit the readings by phone to his doctor's office.

"They are able to see in every day what might be going on, where otherwise, I would just be sitting there waiting for something to happen or something to put me in the hospital," said Walter.

"By monitoring those pressures on a day to day basis and treating accordingly -- keeping the pressures low -- we hope to avoid those episodes of worsening heart failure and hospitalization," said Dr. William Abraham.

Walter said the device puts his mind at ease, knowing if something happens there is a good chance the doctors will detect it and let you know.

Heart failure occurs when the heart's muscles become weakened after injury caused by an event like a heart attack.

The most common causes of the condition are coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.