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Published on October 02, 2015

Saint Mary’s Hospital Among the First in the Nation to Offer Patients a New Heart Failure Monitoring Solution 

Waterbury, Conn. — October 2, 2015 — Saint Mary’s Hospital is the first facility in Greater Waterbury to implant a new miniaturized, wireless monitoring sensor to manage heart failure (HF). The CardioMEMS HF System is the first and only FDA-approved heart failure monitoring device that has been proven to significantly reduce hospital admissions when used by physicians to manage heart failure.

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

“CardioMEMS is revolutionary in the treatment of heart failure patients, who are among the sickest patients we see and can often be the most challenging to treat,” said Dr. Rebecca Scandrett, an interventional cardiologist with Saint Mary’s and Franklin Medical Group, who performed the hospital’s first procedure this month. “CardioMEMS gives us another tool to help guide their therapy. It helps to improve their quality of life, extend their life, and keep them out of the hospital.” 

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 5.1 million Americans have heart failure, with 670,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Patients with heart failure are frequently hospitalized, have a reduced quality of life and face a higher risk of death. 

Pat Hunihan, 75, of Waterbury recently was treated for heart failure at Saint Mary’s and was the first patient to benefit from the CardioMEMS HF System. “I think it’s great. It’s telling my doctor about all the fluid that I’m building up and that’s what they’re trying to get rid of—the fluid. Then maybe my heart won’t have to work as hard,” said Hunihan, whose cardiologist, Dr. Paul Kelly, recommended CardioMEMS. 

A few years ago, Hunihan was hospitalized for heart failure treatment and subsequently discharged to a skilled nursing facility for physical therapy before she was able to return home. “I had gotten to the point where I was gaining a lot of weight. I had a lot of swelling in my feet and my legs. I couldn’t walk.”

She hopes to avoid repeating that experience and thinks the CardioMEMS HF System is a wonderful idea. The system is easy for her to use at home. “I love it,” she said. “It talks to me. It tells me, ‘Lay straight. Don’t move. OK, you can get up now.’” 

The CardioMEMS sensor is designed to last the lifetime of the patient and doesn’t require batteries. Once implanted, the wireless sensor sends pressure readings to an external patient electronic system. There is no pain or sensation for the patient during the readings. The CardioMEMS HF System allows the patients to transmit critical information about their heart failure status to a clinician on a regular basis, without the need for additional clinic or hospital visits. This provides clinicians with the ability to detect worsening heart failure sooner and adjust treatment to reduce the likelihood that the patient will need to be hospitalized. 

Data from a clinical trial showed that the CardioMEMS technology reduces heart failure hospital admissions by up to 37 percent. The CHAMPION trial studied the effectiveness of the CardioMEMS HF System in New York Heart Association (NYHA) Functional Classification System class III heart failure patients who had been hospitalized for heart failure in the previous 12 months. Results of the trial demonstrated a statistically significant 28 percent reduction in the rate of heart failure hospitalizations at six months, and 37 percent reduction in heart failure hospitalizations during an average follow-up duration of 15 months. 

Roughly 1.4 million patients in the U.S. have NYHA Class III heart failure, and historically these patients account for nearly half of all heart failure hospitalizations. According to the American Heart Association, the estimated direct and indirect cost of heart failure in the U.S. for 2012 was $31 billion and that number is expected to more than double by 2030. 

“Saint Mary’s Hospital is committed to improving patient care and investing in innovative medical technology such as the CardioMEMS HF System,” said Dr. Kelly, Chief of Cardiology and Medical Director of Cardiac Services at Saint Mary’s. “The hospital is always pursuing new and innovative solutions that result in successful patient outcomes in the diagnosis or treatment of heart failure.” 

The CardioMEMS HF System, from global medical device manufacturer St. Jude Medical, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for commercial use in the U.S. For more information, visit  

About Saint Mary’s Hospital

Saint Mary’s Health System is a leading regional healthcare provider anchored by Saint Mary’s Hospital, a Catholic, not for profit, acute care, community teaching hospital that has served Greater Waterbury for more than 100 years. Licensed for 347 beds, Saint Mary’s is designated as a Level II Trauma Center, offers award-winning cardiac and stroke care and houses the region’s only pediatric emergency care unit. As the leading provider of surgical services in Greater Waterbury, Saint Mary’s was the first to introduce the daVinci® Robotic Surgery System. The health system’s satellites and affiliates extend from Waterbury to Wolcott, Naugatuck, Southbury, Prospect and Watertown. Visit for more information or follow us on Facebook at SaintMarysHospitalCT or Twitter at @SaintMarysCT.

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