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Mercyhealth Offers New Implant for Heart Failure Patients

Charles Stimpfl, of Milton, says device has helped him stay out of the hospital for over a year

JANESVILLE, Wisconsin—Patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) can experience fluid buildup, which may cause them to gain weight, feel short of breath and have swelling, especially in their legs, feet and ankles. In the past, patients occasionally needed to be hospitalized to remove the fluid, because it can collect in the lungs and cause respiratory distress. Now, Mercyhealth can intervene earlier, thanks to a remote monitoring device called the CardioMEMS™ HF System.

Mercyhealth Hospital and Trauma Center-Janesville is the only hospital in Rock County to offer this procedure. Dr. Imdad Ahmed, Electrophysiologist at Mercyhealth implanted the first CardioMEM system in December of 2018. So far, he’s successfully performed 31 of these unique procedures.

The miniature, wireless monitoring sensor, made by Abbott, is implanted in the pulmonary artery during an outpatient procedure. It measures pulmonary artery pressure, an early indicator of worsening heart failure, to detect fluid buildup several days before a patient notices symptoms.

Charles Stimpfl, 77, of Milton, has struggled with complications from congestive heart failure for more than 15 years. In fact, he was told he wouldn’t make it past Christmas in 2017 as his health was declining fast. He’s been in and out of the hospital more than 20 times due to excessive swelling and fluid buildup in and around his heart and legs. But when he met Dr. Ahmed in 2017, he knew he was in the right place care. In the span of four years, Dr. Ahmed performed many procedures, including a pacemaker and defibrillator, supplement and medication adjustments and just recently, the CardioMEM device to help get Charles back to his life without complications. “His entire team has been incredible since day one,” said Charles. “I feel better than ever and haven’t been admitted to the hospital for an entire year. We are so happy with our care team. Mercyhealth has saved my life.”

Dr. Imdad Ahmed says survival rates improve with CardioMEMS HF System “For heart failure patients whose heart does not contract effectively, the risk for hospitalization and mortality is very high, even with appropriate evidence-based medical therapy,” says Dr. Imdad Ahmed. “The use of the CardioMEMS HF System in addition to guideline directed medical therapy can significantly reduce hospital admissions for these heart failure patients and for the first time, we also see a significant improvement in survival.”

The CardioMEMS device is implanted in the pulmonary artery via a short, femoral vein access cath procedure. It measures changes in pulmonary artery pressure, which are a surrogate measure for fluid retention in the lungs due to worsening heart failure conditions. The device is unique in that it does not use a battery. For more information, call (608) 756-6868 or visit mercyhealthsystem.org.

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