CardioMEMS Keeps Automobile Museum Volunteer Cruisin’


During a routine doctor’s visit, Leonard Bonilla’s cardiologist sent him straight to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. But with the help of an at-home monitoring system, he’s again able to pursue the retirement hobbies he loves. 

For 10 years, self-proclaimed motorhead Leonard Bonilla volunteered at the National Automobile Museum in Reno — cleaning, detailing and working on cars — until he had to put his passion on hold to care for a serious heart issue. Now he’s back to showing-and-shining those classic cars, thanks to an at-home monitoring procedure for heart patients.

“I had no idea that the shortness of breath that I was experiencing and the chest pains had anything to do with my heart,” Bonilla says.

After spending time at Renown Regional Medical Center and returning home, he decided to follow the suggestion of cardiologist Thomas To, M.D., and have a CardioMEMS heart monitoring device inserted.

“I want to stay out of the hospital,” Bonilla says. “I also want to survive, and I believe this process will help me live longer.”

Monitoring via CardioMEMS only requires a few minutes of Bonilla’s day. It sends information to his doctor to detect any heart issue, as well as differentiate whether the symptoms are related to Bonilla’s asthma. Which means he spends less time in medical care, and more time doing what he loves.

“What I do here at the museum is help clean cars and detail them, and work on them with the collection manager. And it’s strenuous,” Bonilla says. “Without the CardoMEMS monitoring my system, I don’t think I’d be able to do it. It’s vital to allow me to enjoy my passion for classic automobiles.”

To learn more about CardioMEMS and helpful resources for living with heart conditions, please visit Renown’s Advanced Heart Failure Program.