Heart Failure Care
More than 5 million Americans are affected by Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), and it's one of the leading causes of hospitalizations and readmissions across the country. To better serve our patients, Silver Cross Hospital is the first hospital in the region to help patients stay ahead of heart failure with CardioMEMs.
What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure is a long-term condition in which the heart muscle can’t pump enough oxygen-rich blood to meet the body’s needs. Signs and symptoms of heart failure can include swelling of your feet, ankles and legs, shortness of breath, weight gain and an overly tired feeling.
Classes of Heart Failure
Class 1: Heart failure but no symptoms
Class 2: Slight limitations of physical activity; you are comfortable at rest. Ordinary physical activity leaves you feeling tired and short of breath.
Class 3: You will experience significant limitations in even mild physical activity such as walking, which causes shortness of breath and exhaustion. You are comfortable only at rest.
Class 4: You are unable to carry on any physical activity without discomfort. You are tired and short of breath even at rest.
A Challenging Condition to Treat
Heart failure is a serious condition. It’s also progressive: the heart gets weaker over time, even though you may not notice the signs of worsening disease. This “silent progression” is what can make heart failure so difficult to manage and for your healthcare provider to treat.
CardioMEMS: Getting Ahead of Heart Failure
Now there’s a way for your doctor to identify the silent symptoms of advancing heart failure, and take steps to control it before it gets worse — so you can have the highest possible quality of life and fewer hospitalizations for heart failure. But early treatment is essential. In partnership with cardiologists on our medical staff, in 2019, Silver Cross became the 1st hospital in the region to offer the CardioMEMS™ heart failure system.
How Your Heart and Lungs Work Together
Important clues about the progression of heart failure lie in your pulmonary artery, a passageway that carries blood from your heart to the lungs. When your heart is too weak (heart failure with reduced ejection fraction) or stiff (heart failure with preserved ejection fraction) to pump effectively, fluid builds up and causes pressure increases in your pulmonary artery and lungs.
By using the CardioMEMS™ HF System to measure pressure increases in your pulmonary artery, your doctor will know that your heart failure is getting worse, often before you do. That means they can recommend lifestyle and medication changes earlier, to keep you feeling well and reduce your chance of a heart failure hospitalization.
Staying Ahead of Heart Failure at Home
The CardioMEMS™ HF system includes a tiny pressure-sensing device that is inserted into your pulmonary artery. It also has a home unit about the size of a queen-size pillow that allows you to wirelessly send your pulmonary artery pressure readings directly to your heart failure medical team for regular review.
- Taking a reading is a simple process that only takes a few minutes each day.
- You just lie down on the provided home unit and press a button to start.
- The information is sent to a secure website that your medical team can access.
- Your healthcare provider regularly reviews the information and contacts you if changes to your medications or treatment plan are necessary.
- Regular monitoring from your home allows you and your heart failure medical team to get ahead of heart failure before it progresses.
Insertion of the CardioMEMS HF System
The innovative system features a sensor that is implanted in the pulmonary artery during a non-surgical procedure to directly measure pulmonary artery pressure. Increased pressures appear before weight and blood pressure changes, which are often used as measures of worsening heart failure.