Cynthia’s CardioMEMS™ HF System Story
Cynthia is 52-year-old, loving grandmother to four grandchildren who used to run a house cleaning business. As an asthma sufferer, Cynthia had always attributed her shortness of breath and fatigue to that disease. It was a visit to the emergency room one night for what she thought were problems with her asthma that led to her heart failure diagnosis. She was diagnosed on May 13, 2014 and it was a shock when she heard the news from the emergency room doctors.
Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to contract or relax properly. As a result, the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. There is no cure, but many people with heart failure who receive proper treatment go on to live long, full and enjoyable lives. Symptoms of heart failure may include shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle pain or weakness and problems during exercise like lightheadedness, dizziness or nausea. For Cynthia, she was having trouble just walking from her living room to her kitchen without feeling short of breath. Heart failure is a condition that develops over time and can be caused from a variety of underlying diseases.
Frequent hospital visits are a common burden for heart failure patients. After having heart surgery to place an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), Cynthia was feeling good for about a year, but then her condition worsened and she found herself in the hospital nearly two to three times a month.
She was eager to find a way to better manage her heart failure symptoms and then her doctor suggested the CardioMEMS™ HF System. This is the first and only FDA-approved heart failure (HF) monitoring system proven to significantly reduce HF hospital admissions and improve quality of life in New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class III patients. On May 13, 2016, Cynthia jumped at the chance to receive the CardioMEMS™ HF System and decided to get the implant right then and there.
The CardioMEMS™ HF System measures pulmonary artery pressure and heart rate through a sensor that is implanted in the pulmonary artery (the blood vessel that moves blood from the heart to the lungs). Once the device is implanted, patients take daily pressure readings from the comfort of their home and wirelessly transmit the data to their clinician for continuous monitoring.
The sensor is small and does not require any batteries or wires. The patient will not feel it, and it will not interfere with daily activities or other implanted devices such as a pacemaker or defibrillator. The system includes an electronic unit that is used to take the daily measurements.
This is a simple process that takes only a few minutes. There is no pain or sensation during the readings.
Cynthia finds the monitoring system easy to use and she appreciates the security and control she has since receiving the CardioMEMS HF System. She now feels comfortable staying out longer and doing more activities.
Thanks to the CardioMEMS HF System, Cynthia has not been back in the hospital for her heart failure and feels great. And the best part, because the system allows her doctors to manage her medications so effectively, she no longer suffers with fluid build-up. This means Cynthia can now lie down and sleep on her back for the first time in 30 years.
She is also able to take long showers, go on long walks, and spend more time with her friends and grandkids (she loves being able to attend their basketball and football games again). She has also resumed her favorite activity, cleaning and taking care of her home.
Learn details about the CardioMEMS HF System and read more stories like Cynthia’s.
This story reflects one person’s experience; not everyone will experience the same results. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of your treatment options. St. Jude Medical does not provide medical services or advice as part of this website. For a complete list of possible complications, refer to this important safety information.