Health & Wellness

Pillow Talk

by Amanda Bedgood

A new device — much like a “cardiac fitbit chip”— transmits critical health info to your doc while you sleep.

The new wave in monitoring has arrived, as a device using kinetic energy (no battery) is being inserted into patients with congestive heart failure in order to transmit health information wirelessly and cut down on hospital time.

If it works as planned, CardioMEMS HF System will ultimately save lives and improve the quality of life for patients.

The Heart Hospital of Lafayette is the first in the state to use the device, and it’s a true game changer, says interventional cardiologist Dr. Jon D. Leleux.

Patients are awake while a doctor inserts the device in an artery. Each night the patient lies on a special pillow that then transmits information straight to the doctor’s office. The levels monitored by the device are so subtle they cannot be detected by symptoms alone. By the time patients have symptoms they are often headed for serious trouble.

“This pressure in the heart goes up about a month before they are admitted,” Leleux says.

Instead of heading to the hospital (or worse) patients can adjust meds and diet.

“Now we have a tool that catches it at an early stage and hopefully prevents hospitalization,” the cardiologist says.

The monitor is the tip of iceberg in the ever-growing effort to keep hospital admissions down and let patients in on their own treatment in a new way.

“It’s a game changer,” Leleux says.

Patient portals that allow patients to access their own health records and check levels in other areas of treatment are in the works and in use in some facilities nationally.

“You can check your own pressures like you would check anything else on your phone or computer. Like checking on your stocks,” notes Leleux.

He says the interesting element is the accountability factor, especially with patients who have congestive heart failure: “One said, ‘You’ll know if I eat at the Chinese buffet.’”