David's CardioMEMS Story

May 28, 2019
Photo of David BarnardA heart attack in 1993 and then again in 2006 left David Barnard with a bit of a precarious future.Triple bypass surgery and an implanted defibrillator helped treat the damage caused by the heart attacks, but there was no denying that his heart would never be the same

Helping doctors monitor his condition meant wearisome trips to the hospital. And then, in a recent setback – his medications just weren’t working as needed.

But Abrazo Community Health Network had a solution to turn the 74-year-old’s life around for the better. And it came in the size of a device as small as a paper clip.

In July, David was given the CardioMEMS Heart Failure System. As part of a procedure, the tiny electronic sensor was implanted in his pulmonary artery to monitor potential problems with his heart. The device allows cardiologists to track the pressure of the patient's artery and remotely monitor changes in the patient's heart. Now in place, the sensor will alert David's doctors to pressure changes which could indicate worsening heart failure. 

So, before he shows any outward symptoms of heart failure, his doctors can make adjustments to his treatment plan or medications.

“I’ll wear this for the rest of my life,’’ says David. “I just want to keep going on."

Every day for 20 seconds, David lies down on a pillow, which has an embedded monitor. The monitor transmits information to his doctor’s smart phone or computer.

An automated alert will be sent to David’s healthcare providers, if his pressure readings fall outside of prespecified ranges.“The intention of this (device) is to keep patients out of the hospital,” says Dr. Marwan Bahu, an independent cardiologist at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital. “This empowers the physician to make decisions way ahead of symptoms.”David, a retired developer and owner of a mini-storage business, has lived in Arizona for 30 years. With this new lease on life, he’s busy traveling, exercising and playing golf.

He was just 50 years old when head had his first heart attack and says he subsequently was used to being  hospitalized five or six times a year. “With the CardioMEMS, I hope I won’t have to be hospitalized again,’’ he says.

Obtaining the CardioMEMS device requires only an outpatient procedure. With no batteries or connecting wires, it’s designed to be permanently in place, so David should never feel the sensor. The system is also designed not to interfere with his defibrillator.

“My care at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital was fabulous,’’ David says. “It is the best. From the front door to the nurses to operating room and the administration, it’s all good.”

Disclaimer: Dr. Marwan Bahu is an independent physician and is not an employee, agent or representative of Abrazo Community Health Network. He is solely responsible for the provision of medical services to his patients.