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Piedmont Athens Celebrates Milestone for 100th Heart Failure Monitoring System

Athens, Ga. (Aug. 11, 2021) – Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center announced it recently celebrated the completion of its 100th CardioMEMS HF System implantation, a device that provides wireless monitoring to help manage a patient’s heart failure condition.

The CardioMEM HF System is a remote monitoring platform for heart failure patients that aids physicians in preventing worsening heart failure in patients, helps reduce hospitalization and deaths, and improves quality of life for patients living with heart failure.

“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,” said Catherine Marti, M.D., Piedmont Heart Institute cardiologist and the only board certified heart failure specialist in Athens. “Traditional methods to prevent heart failure admissions, such as monitoring daily weights and fluid intake, have proven largely ineffective at keeping patients out of the hospital.

“With CardioMEMS, we have the technology to monitor patients so intensively that we can identify the onset of heart failure before symptoms even begin.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 6.5 million adults in the United States have heart failure. In patients with heart failure, the weakened muscle can't pump enough blood or have enough force, and the back-up increases pressure in the artery to the lungs, causing symptoms like coughing or wheezing, swelling or weakness.

"These symptoms often take weeks to develop and there are changes in a person’s body prior to that," said Dr. Marti. “Oftentimes, by the time patients are experiencing these symptoms, their heart failure has worsened to the point to where they need hospitalization and more intense medical intervention or treatment.” 

The CardioMEMS HF System features a sensor that is implanted in the pulmonary artery during a non-surgical procedure to directly measure artery pressure. Increased pressures appear before weight and blood pressure changes, which are often used as indirect measures of worsening heart failure.

The system allows patients to transmit daily sensor readings from their homes to their health care providers, allowing for personalized and proactive management to reduce the likelihood of hospitalization.

Research has shown that patients using the CardioMEMS system had a 57 percent reduction in mortality and a 43 percent reduction in hospitalizations compared with patients on guideline directed medical therapy managed by the standard of care, according to Dr. Marti.

With a significant reduction in heart failure admissions, the CardioMEMS program at Piedmont Athens Regional has transformed heart failure management for those in the Athens-Clarke and surrounding communities.

“I’m tremendously proud of our heart failure team and program at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center. Completing our 100th CardioMEMS implant is a huge milestone, and I’m very pleased we’re able to offer this important service closer to home for heart failure patients in our community,” Dr. Marti said.  “CardioMEMS provides a nice, additional security for these patients, knowing that they're being monitored and our doctors are keeping a close eye on their condition – it gives them a little peace of mind so they can enjoy their day-to-day.”

For more information about Piedmont Athens Regional’s heart failure and other heart services, visit piedmont.org/heart

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