Summer 2015

Issue link: http://digital.copcomm.com/i/551105

Contents of this Issue


Page 7 of 51

8 | PULSE S u m m e r 2 0 1 5 I f congestive heart failure is afflicting you or a loved one, you may be all too familiar with the challenges of keeping it under control. When heart muscle function is abnormal, it is either too weak and not able to pump effectively, or too stiff and not able to relax properly. Both result in congestive heart failure (CHF), a condition which results in fluid backing up into the lungs and other parts of the body—causing shortness of breath and swelling. Torrance Memorial Medical Center now offers the latest FDA-approved technology to help. Pulse recently met with Victoria Shin, MD, an interventional cardiologist with the Torrance Memorial Physician Network—South Bay Heart, to learn more about the new treatment and the CardioMems Pilot Program. e program began in March 2015 and involves implanting a monitoring device known as the CardioMems HF System in a patient's pulmonary artery, which carries blood with low levels of oxygen from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs. It's an outpatient procedure that takes approximately one hour, and Dr. Shin was the first doctor in the South Bay to perform it. "e patient goes home the same day with a monitoring system that is fairly user-friendly. It includes a pillow with a sensor. e patient lies down on the pillow daily, pushes a button to send their measurements via computer to a mainframe that collects and stores the data," says Dr. Shin. e device allows physicians to monitor the patient's internal pulmonary pressures on a daily basis. If an increase in pressure is noted, the physician will call the patient and instruct them to change certain medications or come in for an appointment. is allows physicians to "nip it in the bud and help to prevent hospitalizations due to decompensated heart failure," says Dr. Shin. "Patients also need to be compliant with their medications and invested in their health care." Dr. Shin describes the measurements as more accurate and earlier markers of heart failure than other signs and symptoms such as weight gain, swelling and shortness of breath. "By the time these symptoms arise, it's almost too late," she says. Patients are considered candidates for the system if they have class 2 to 3 heart failure resulting in slight to marked limitations in physical activity, have been hospitalized within the past year and have a history of repeated CHF admissions. "ese patients benefit most from daily monitoring to prevent the condition from worsening," says Dr. Shin. Roxanna Balter, NP, helps to co- manage all patients admitted to Torrance Memorial with a primary diagnosis of heart failure along with all of the CardioMems Pilot Program patients. She works in conjunction with the physicians and teaches patients about CHF and self- care measures. So far, four patients have had a CardioMems device implanted. eir daily pressure measurements are sent to Balter for monitoring and review. "I look not only at the daily readings but also for trends. If there is a concern, I call the patient and their physician," she says. is is done to prevent a worsening of the patient's CHF by intervening with a medication adjustment sooner rather than later. Patients are also instructed to call 911 for any worsening of symptoms such as shortness of breath. FOLLOWING YOUR HEART THE CARDIOMEMS PILOT PROGRAM ALLOWS DOCTORS TO MONITOR PATIENTS' HEARTS FROM AFAR. WRITTEN BY CAROLE JAKUCS, RN, BSN, PHN H E A LT H L I N KS

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Pulse - Summer 2015