Dewitt Hicks has a special reason to celebrate National Heart Month. For the past six months, his congestive heart failure has been monitored remotely through a new device called the CardioMEMS HF System. It is the first and only FDA-approved heart failure monitoring device proven to significantly reduce hospital admissions when used to manage heart failure. Baptist Golden Triangle and Baptist Memphis offer patients this device.
The 85-year-old long-time Columbus attorney, former Air Force pilot and avid outdoorsman was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation three years ago. A nurse practitioner at Baptist Medical Group-Columbus Cardiovascular Care suggested that Hicks get the device, and he had no second thoughts about having it implanted at Baptist Golden Triangle.
The CardioMEMS HF System features a sensor that is implanted in the pulmonary artery during a non-surgical procedure to directly measure pressure in the artery. The pressure changes appear before weight and blood pressure changes occur, which are often used as indirect measures of worsening heart failure.
The new system allows patients to transmit daily sensor readings from their homes to their health care provider, allowing for proactive management to reduce the likelihood of hospitalization. The sensor is designed to last for the rest of the patient’s life and does not require batteries.
Hicks checks his pressure first thing every morning by lying on a special device for 14 seconds while his pressure is being monitored. If his heart rhythm or fluid pressures are out of normal range, his cardiologist’s office calls him with instructions on how to adjust his medication.
“This is fantastic new technology for the management of heart failure patients with difficult to control fluid status,” said Dr. John King, Hicks’ cardiologist. “For patients who have problems managing their heart failure symptoms, it can really help optimize how we manage them. We are very pleased to offer this device as an option in our area.”
Hicks said after he met King and his staff, he had no thoughts about going to another hospital to have the procedure done.
“It never crossed my mind. I am very, very thankful for Baptist and Dr. King and the care they have given me,” Hicks said.