A suite of sensors can predict heart failure events by detecting when a patient’s condition is worsening, according to Dr. John Boehmer, professor of medicine, Penn State College of Medicine, who presented the findings at the American Heart Association annual meeting in New Orleans.
Heart failure is responsible for more than 1 million hospitalizations each year and more than $20 billion in costs. The new technique could help prevent costly hospitalizations and poor health outcomes including death.
Current efforts to manage heart failure by monitoring weight and symptoms have not significantly reduced hospitalizations. More than one in five patients are readmitted within 30 days after being hospitalized for heart failure.
An international team of researchers set out to investigate if implantable devices already used in heart failure patients could be retrofitted with sensors to track their condition. Their results will also to be published in JACC Heart Failure.
Nine hundred heart failure patients were followed for up to one year. At the beginning of the study, the researchers uploaded software to each patient’s implanted defibrillator, a battery-powered device that delivers an electric shock if the patient’s heart stops beating.
The software allowed the defibrillators to also act as sensors, monitoring the patients’ heart rate, activity, breathing, heart sounds and electrical activity in the chest.