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Erasmus MC uses sensor to monitor cardiac patients remotely


Erasmus MC uses sensor to monitor cardiac patients remotely

For the first time ever, a patient has received a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) as well as the special sensor CardioMEMS which enables cardiologist to adjust the patient’s medication remotely.


The CardioMEMS sensor can transmit data on the patient’s condition to the cardiologist at Erasmus MC from anywhere. The cardiologist can then adjust the patient’s medication remotely and timely intervention is thus possible in the event of problems. This reduces the time that patients have to deal with symtoms and also results in fewer hospital visits and admissions. The first patient is doing well. The operation was performed successfully last week.

New insights

“The combination of the VAD and the pressure sensor as hybrid construction will drastically change the treatment of heart failure in the future and will provide us with many new insights,” says cardiologist at Erasmus MC, Dr. Jasper Brugts who carried out the operation.

The number of people suffering from heart failure is increasing rapidly and so is the number of people receiving a VAD. A VAD takes over the pumping function of the left ventricle when it fails. The pump only has mechanical information and does not support the right ventricle. The sensor, however, provides information on the blood pressure on the right side and gives immediate feedback on the patient’s condition. Completely new information becomes available by bringing these two techniques together. The aim of this new procedure is to ensure that patients are in a better condition when they go for surgery and that complications after surgery can be identified earlier.

The sensor is placed in the pulmonary artery and continuously measures the pressure in the heart. Reducing the pressure, once this has risen, is essentially the treatment for heart failure. “Being able to see remotely whether the pressure increases, enables us to intervene quickly by adjusting the drug dose, for instance”, says Brugts. It also tells us how the patient is doing at home. It is a real innovation in the field of eHealth and telemonitoring; tailor-made care for the patient, according to Brugts.

Significant increase

The patient is given a special pillow to take home which contains a device that comes into contact with the sensor once the patient lays his/her head on the pillow. This device registers the pressure in the heart for 18 seconds. The data is then transmitted to the hospital via a secure internet connection. The pillow can be used anywhere in the world, so can even be taken on holiday.

Heart failure affects 150,000 people annually in the Netherlands. “This number will increase significantly in the coming years”, says Brugts. “On the one hand due to the aging population, and on the other hand due to the improved treatment of heart attacks. As more and more people survive heart attacks, the number of people with a failing pumping action of the heart increases. The RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) estimates that the number of patients with heart failure will have doubled by 2025. “I think that innovative techniques such as CardioMEMS are essential to be able to cope with that increase.”

source: Erasmus Universitair Medisch Centrum Rotterdam

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