Heart failure implant cuts hospital stays

Remote monitoring of patients with heart failure (HF) could lead to nearly 40% fewer cases of hospitalisation due to the condition, US research suggests.

The findings, published in the Lancet, suggest huge savings can be made by monitoring patients to prevent expensive hospital stays.

An Australian expert said the device was the beginning of a ‘revolution’ in patient monitoring.

Researchers led by Dr William Abraham from Ohio State University assessed the effectiveness of an implanted device that wirelessly measures pressure within the pulmonary arteries to determine HF risk.

Patients with a history of HF were enrolled in 64 centres across the US as part of the CHAMPION trial.

The treatment group received the implant, known as a wireless implantable haemodynamic monitoring system, in addition to standard care. A control group were given standard care.

After six months, 83 HF-related hospitalisations were reported among the 270 patients in the treatment group. This compared with 120 in the control group of 280 patients.

This translated into a 39% reduction in related admissions in the treatment group over 15 months.

The authors concluded: ‘The CHAMPION trial represents the first positive, randomised, adequately powered clinical trial of implantable haemodynamic monitoring in patients with moderately symptomatic heart failure.

‘The addition of information about pulmonary artery pressure to clinical signs and symptoms allows for improved heart-failure management and leads to a reduction in heart-failure-related hospitalisations.’

Device- or system-related complications occurred in eight patients, but no patients reported pressure-sensor failures.

In an editorial, Professor Henry Krum of Monash University and Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, said the study suggested strong consideration should be given to implantation of the device in appropriate patients.

He said: ‘With increasing clinical use of these devices will come further technological advances. We are only at the beginning of this revolution in patient monitoring.’

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