Monday, May 31, 2010

Paper-clip wireless device could monitor congestive heart failure medications

There was a movie named “Paper Clips” a few years ago, but medicine takes the simple device seriously. There is a paper-clip-like pressure monitor that can be inserted into the heart’s pulmonary artery to determine blood flow and fluid retention measurements, and a new study at Ohio State University in Columbus found that use of the device can help physicians effectively monitor medications (such as diuretics like Lasix and blood thinners like Coumadin) for patients with congestive heart failure, reducing hospitalizations for bleeding or extreme fluid retention.

The ABC News story, by John Berman, is “Paper Clip-Sized Implant Could Reduce Hospitalizations, Change Cardiac Medicine, Study Says: Tiny Implant Has the Promise to Save Thousands of Lives and Billions of Dollars,” link here.  It was presented on ABC “World News Tonight” on Monday May 31.

The device can be inserted with a groin catheter. Once a day, the patient or a caregiver moves a wand in the chest area to send a report to the doctor’s office through a wireless connection.

It would be important to verify that wireless routers or connections from home computers could not interfere with the device. I don’t think so, but I’m talking to Comcast (and Verizon) about a new wireless router that I just got now anyway. This sounds like a good question.

The manufacturer is Cardiomems, and its information sheet on the device for physicians is here. The device is called the The EndoSure® Wireless AAA Pressure Sensor.

ABC video on congestive heart failure, which is said to correlate directly to age:



Congestive heart failure (or “heart inefficiency”) also develops as a result of value stenosis or calcification and value opening narrowing, sometimes after coronary bypass surgery, sometimes merely as a result of genetics. Heart efficiency is measured by an echocardiogram.

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