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Studying Fluid Overflow in Patients With Devices

BOSTON, Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The 15th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) will feature a session entitled "Late Breaking Trials," which will highlight recent studies relating to heart failure.

Dr. D.J. van Veldhuisen, from The UMC Groningen, The Netherlands, will discuss a recent study of heart failure patients who are hospitalized with fluid overflow in the heart.  Fluid builds up in the heart, and the heart is unable to manage the increase in fluid, which results in patients requiring a hospital stay to correct the issue. This problem can cause weight gain, fatigue and shortness of breath.

The study focused on strategies for early detection of fluid overflow in order to avoid lengthy and costly hospital stays.  Doctors studied 350 patients who had implantable cardioverter defibrillators with or without cardiac resynchronization, and these were fitted with diagnostic systems to monitor intrathoracic impedance, which reflects fluid in the chest, a sign of (impeding) decompensation.  The systems are designed to emit a beep when fluid levels reach a certain threshold, signaling the patient to contact their doctor.

Doctors sought to determine if these systems would provide detection early enough to prevent the need for later hospitalization. The patients who were fitted with active diagnostic systems actually saw an increase in hospital visits, rather than the decrease doctors had hoped for.

As Dr. van Veldhuisen points out, patients may have become nervous about the alarm going off, which resulted in visits to the hospital rather than a phone call to their doctor. Dr. van Veldhuisen also notes that the human body naturally fluctuates from day to day, so the question becomes how quickly should doctors respond to slight changes

"Early detection of fluid buildup is the key to reducing hospital stays and improving quality of life for patients," said Dr. van Veldhuisen. "This study, among others, is aimed at finding the best ways to identify problems early, and monitoring patients remotely seems to be the best option. The question becomes which method we should use to monitor patients."

For a complete list of annual meeting sessions or for details on attending the conference, call (617) 226-7183 or visit and click on Annual Scientific Meeting. There is no registration fee for accredited journalists. Interview areas will be available on-site in addition to a fully-staffed press room with phone and internet accessibility. You may follow news from the meeting on Twitter #HFSA.

About Heart Failure

Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart muscle becomes weakened after it is injured, most commonly from heart attack or high blood pressure, and gradually loses its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs. Many people are not aware they have heart failure because the symptoms are often mistaken for signs of getting older. Heart failure affects 4.6 to 4.8 million individuals in the United States. Demographic and clinical evidence strongly suggests that the prevalence of heart failure will increase throughout the next decade. Ten to 15 years ago heart failure was considered a "death sentence;" however, recent advances in treatment have shown that early diagnosis and proper care in early stages of the condition are key to slowing, stopping or in some cases reversing progression, improving quality of life, and extending life expectancy. For more information on heart failure, please visit

About the Heart Failure Society of America

The Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) is a nonprofit educational organization, founded in 1994 as the first organized association of heart failure experts. The HFSA provides a forum for all those interested in heart function, heart failure research and patient care. The Society also serves as a resource for governmental agencies (FDA, NIH, NHLBI, CMS). The HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting is designed to highlight recent advances in the development of strategies to address the complex epidemiological, clinical and therapeutic issues of heart failure. Additional information on HFSA can be found at

SOURCE The Heart Failure Society of America
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