Device in artery helps track blood pressure in heart patients

( — As many as 2 million Americans with congestive heart failure could benefit from a pressure monitor inserted in the pulmonary artery to help doctors track early signs of trouble, according to a study published this week in the medical journal The Lancet .

The experimental monitor is inserted by catheter through the groin and into the artery. Each day, patients lie on a pad that collects information from the monitor through radio frequency. The information goes to a secure website where a doctor can access it.

If the blood pressure in the pulmonary artery is going up, the doctor can then tell the patient to adjust his or her medications to correct the problem and avoid a crisis.

The study looked at 550 patients, about half of whom were implanted with a monitor made by CardioMEMS, which paid for the study. Other companies are testing similar devices.

In six months, 83 hospitalizations were reported in the group of 270 monitored patients. Of 280 patients who were not monitored, there were 120 hospitalizations. That amounts to a 39 percent reduction in hospital stays.


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