February 19, 2014 — A new treatment option for heart disease is being tested at The University of Kansas Hospital that could be significant in telemedicine. Using an implantable monitoring device, the patient can hold a smartphone-type device to the chest and the device will relay info wirelessly from the heart implant to the doctors at the hospital. It allows doctors the ability to better personalize treatment for heart failure patients while giving those patients more control of their chronic condition.
The clinical trial is called LAPTOP-HF (Left Atrial Pressure Monitoring to Optimize Heart Failure Therapy.) Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, an electrophysiologist at The University of Kansas Hospital, said the LAPTOP-HF monitor can give heart patients and their doctors critical information immediately.
"Before this device, any of these measurements had to be taken here in our office. Now with this technology, we can obtain the information from the patient's home," Lakkireddy said. "It's especially helpful for patients who live a long way from us. We can constantly monitor their condition and give them medication changes any time, rather than waiting for a scheduled appointment."
That's a huge benefit for Larry Stewart, who lives nearly two hours south of the hospital in Bronson, Kan. Before enrolling in the trial, Stewart and his wife had to make the journey to see Lakkireddy about every six weeks for congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation.
Now, after having the device (which looks like a pacemaker) surgically implanted in his chest, all Stewart has to do each day is hold the small monitor (the size of a smartphone) up to his chest and the readings are electronically sent back to the doctor's office for instant analysis.
"It makes me feel better that there's something there that's measuring and keeping an eye on my heart," Stewart said.
It also means only making the trip to the doctor's office every three months, while still being monitored regularly, which is especially helpful during winter months when road conditions can be dangerous.
St. Jude Medical developed the monitor. The University of Kansas Hospital is among the 75 sites in the United States chosen to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the device.
For more information: www.kumed.com