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Wireless Device Can Cut Heart Failure-Related Hospitalizations
Date:2/10/2011

in hospitalizations, compared with those who didn't, Abraham's team found.

Data from the device is picked up by an antenna outside the body that sends the information to physicians and also keeps the device powered, Abraham said.

The device has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Abraham noted, but it is undergoing the approval process now.

If approved, it is expected to cost about $15,000, Abraham said. "A single hospitalization for heart failure costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $12,000 to $14,000. So, just avoiding one hospitalization can make this cost-effective," he said.

Moreover, patients seem to like the device, Abraham noted: "One of our patients said they felt like we were always watching them and it gives them a sense of connectiveness to the physician and a sense of security."

Commenting on the study, Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that "this study represents a major advance in the management of patients with heart failure."

Heart failure results in substantial morbidity, mortality and health care expenditures, with more than 1 million hospitalizations for heart failure each year in the United States alone, he said.

"Worsening of congestion results in the majority of hospitalizations with heart failure, but traditional methods of monitoring symptoms and signs of heart failure have had limited success in preventing hospitalizations for heart failure," Fonarow said.

"Wireless implantable monitoring allows for early detection of fluid accumulation, before a patient notices changes in symptoms or weight, allowing for preemptive management to address this fluid accumulation and to prevent hospitalization for worsening heart failure," he said.

The trial was funded by CardioMEMS, the maker of the device.

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