John Diaz, 73, of Laguna Woods, had been living with heart failure for several years. Like many patients with this condition, he had been in and out of the hospital many times due to an increase in symptoms or complications of the disease.
“It was a challenge for my wife and me to monitor my symptoms at home every day,” said John. “We were constantly worried if a change in my weight, fluid levels or blood pressure were cause for concern.”
John is not alone. Heart failure affects nearly 6 million Americans and is one of the most common reasons people age 65 and older go into the hospital. A diagnosis of heart failure doesn’t mean the heart has stopped beating, rather the heart isn’t pumping blood as it should. The heart keeps working, but the body’s need for blood and oxygen isn’t being met. As a result, fluid can build up in the body and cause swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, lungs or other organs. Heart failure is typically treated with medication and daily weight checks to monitor fluid, but oftentimes patients fall ill or experience an unexpected change in symptoms and end up in the hospital for treatment.
In 2016, John’s physician, Dr. Sanjay Bhojraj, a cardiologist with Mission Heritage Medical Group, told him about a breakthrough advancement in heart failure management. The CardioMEMS™ HF System is implanted in the pulmonary artery during a minimally invasive procedure and detects changes in artery pressure — an early indication of worsening heart failure that is caught before the patient notices symptoms such as shortness of breath or weight gain. The dime-size implant transmits artery readings wirelessly to the patient’s care team each morning, allowing them to adjust medication or treatment without the need for a hospital visit.
Eager for a solution that would keep him out of the hospital and improve his quality of life, John became the first person to receive the CardioMEMS implant at Mission Hospital — the first hospital in south Orange County to offer the FDA-approved heart failure monitor.
“For patients like John who suffer from congestive heart failure, the risk for hospitalization has typically been very high,” said Dr. Bhojraj, who performed the procedure. “We previously had no way to monitor patients’ conditions without seeing them in the office or hospital. The implant, which was inserted during a one-hour procedure under light sedation, allows us to check John’s status remotely. We monitor regularly and communicate via a text or phone to modify treatment before the symptoms worsen.”
Since John had the device implanted, he hasn’t required a single trip to the hospital — and plans to keep it that way. “I feel much more confident in understanding what’s going on in my body,” he said. “Knowing I have a team of doctors and nurses who are regularly monitoring my levels helps me stay on top of my health and gives me the peace of mind I need to be able to live life to the fullest.”
To find out more about the CardioMEMS™ HF System or to learn if the treatment may be right for you, visit mission4health.com.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.