Home Lifestyle CardioMems system a ‘game-changer’ for heart failure patients

CardioMems system a ‘game-changer’ for heart failure patients

Pictured (left to right) are Greg Ellison, Abbott; Elessa Wheeler, R.N.; Amanda Bianco, R.N.; Lynne Mabe, FNP; James Throckmorton, CV specialist; Kim Ware, CV specialist; Sun Moon Kim, M.D.; and Diane Nelson, Abbott. Photo by FirstHealth

PINEHURST — Treatment of heart failure has advanced dramatically in recent years, offering patients a chance at longer, more comfortable lives. In the spring of 2023, FirstHealth’s Heart Services team began offering a new treatment option for heart failure patients that allows physicians to remotely monitor the function of the heart.

The CardioMems HF System helps physicians prevent worsening heart failure, lowers mortality rates and improves quality of life.

“An early sign of worsening heart failure is worsening in a measurement of the pressure in the pulmonary artery, which is a surrogate marker for the patient’s fluid status,” Sun Moon Kim, M.D., a FirstHealth interventional cardiologist, said.

“This pressure can increase before symptoms might develop, and in the past, we were only able to monitor pulmonary artery pressure at a single moment in time through a heart catherization at Reid Heart Center.”

The CardioMems system changes that using a sensor the size of a paper clip. The sensor is placed directly into a patient’s pulmonary artery during a minimally invasive procedure, and when combined with a home monitoring unit, allows patients to take daily measurements of pulmonary artery pressure. The unit includes a device about the size of a pillow that allows patients to wirelessly send readings to their doctor.

That data is available to care teams, which can allow for early medication changes before heart failure symptoms worsen.


“We can track data at demand, allowing us to make better choices about the care a patient may need,” Kim said.

“This could include small changes to medications that can happen in between appointments or even decisions about more invasive procedures. It is a game-changer, because our ability to personalize care for people increases significantly.”

Studies have shown that CardioMems helps decrease heart failure hospitalizations and, most importantly, improves patient quality of life.

Candidates include heart failure patients who suffer significant limitations in mild physical activity and those who have been hospitalized for heart failure in the previous year.

Heart & Vascular Care at FirstHealth

FirstHealth leads the region in advanced heart and vascular care. Our services are offered in the state-of-the-art Reid Heart Center in Pinehurst, North Carolina, and in our seven cardiology clinics throughout our region. For more information, visit our website.

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