CardioMEMS: A Game Changer for Heart Patients


A leading-edge procedure aimed at improving quality of life, reducing the need for routine doctor’s appointments and decreasing hospital admissions for heart failure patients is now available in northern Nevada. Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health is the first and only provider in our region to offer at-home heart failure monitoring.

About one in five Americans will develop heart failure – a lifelong condition that requires individualized treatment. The CardioMEMS HF System allows healthcare providers to remotely monitor heart failure patients and be alerted when their condition may be getting worse based on pulmonary artery pressures. Studies have shown these artery pressure changes are one of the first signs of worsening heart failure – appearing prior to physical symptoms such as shortness of breath or weight gain.

Personalized Care for Heart Patients

Using a catheter, the CardioMEMS sensor – a dime-sized pressure-sensing device – is permanently implanted in the pulmonary artery during a minimally invasive procedure. Once placed, patients can take readings of their pulmonary artery pressures from the comfort of their home. Using a bedside unit and pillow with an antenna, the patient simply has to press a button, and the readings are automatically and securely sent to their care provider for review.

This personalized and proactive management of heart failure has been shown to help reduce hospitalizations for heart failure patients by 37 percent. Leveraging this state-of-the-art technology allows Renown’s heart care team to keep a close eye on patients with fewer visits to the doctor’s office or hospital. Using CardioMEMS readings, care providers may recommend medication or lifestyle changes to help improve the patient’s artery pressures and in turn, their heart failure.

“Because heart failure is a progressive and chronic disease, it is important to do everything we can to improve a patient’s quality of life,” said Thomas-Duythuc To, M.D., director of Renown’s Advanced Heart Failure Program. “Our team recognizes that all hearts, like all people, are different. We are focused on providing individualized and comprehensive care that ensures all of our patients can be more active and maintain their everyday lifestyle while living with heart failure. Offering CardioMEMS to local patients for the first time does just that.”

‘Life-Changing’ Treatment

Patients in our region who have already received the procedure agree. “It’s been a life changer, it really has,” says Larry Crawford of Susanville, Calif.

Crawford enjoys traveling in his RV, and thanks to the CardioMEMS system, he’s able to return to that passion.

“It makes me feel more secure,” Crawford says. “I know my doctor is watching and taking care of me before I even notice problems. I feel bad for people who struggle every day with heart failure and don’t know there’s this solution.”

The Institute for Heart & Vascular Health has brought a number of other leading-edge technologies to our area, including the region’s first and only transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure in 2015. TAVR is an alternative to open-heart surgery for patients who suffer from a narrowed aortic valve but are considered high risk or inoperable.