In a Scottish first, specialists at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital have implanted a new device which remotely monitors heart failure patients as part of the COAST clinical trial.
The study will see up to 10 patients receive cardioMEMS implants over two years with the aim of proving the device is cost-effective to use widely throughout NHS in the UK.
Instead of being hospitalised once every three months to have an invasive procedure performed to measure pressures inside the heart and lungs, the patient just needs to lie on a special pillow for 18 seconds a day, allowing the radio frequency chip inside the device to send this vital information remotely to the clinical team.
The tiny implant, which is about the size of a paperclip, can detect small changes in pressure in the vessels around the heart before a patient even feels any symptoms, allowing the clinical team to change medication doses, potentially reducing hospitalisation.
Professor Roy Gardner, Consultant Cardiologist at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, explained: “This new device reduces the need for patients to come into hospital and allows us to monitor them literally from their own bedside no matter where they, or we, are or in the world.
“Most importantly, the device sends us alerts to any vital changes, which allows us to contact the patient and instruct them to increase or decrease their medication. This quick intervention could prevent hospital admission or, potentially, even death.“The device is widely used in the United States, but this is the first time it has been used in Scotland.
“We hope that the COAST trial will prove that it can be very useful and cost-effective in improving the management of patients with heart failure, which essentially means keeping them out of hospital and making them feel less breathless.”
Heart failure patient Charmaine Bishop was the first in Scotland to receive the cardioMEMS implant as part of the COAST clinical trial.
After collapsing in her GP’s surgery, Charmaine was taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley before being transferred to the Golden Jubilee. When specialists there diagnosed heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy, an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrilator (ICD) was fitted in December 2017.
Then in February this year, Charmaine became the first Scottish patient to receive the cardioMEMS device when the clinical trial went live.
Charmaine, 59, commented: “I’m quite chuffed I was picked to be the first person in Scotland to have it done.
“I was worried about the procedure beforehand, but I was made to feel very comfortable about it and I’m glad I did it.
“Everything is absolutely fine; it’s absolutely amazing what they can do now and it keeps me ticking along nicely.”
Following on from the success of the first procedure, more cardioMEMS devices have been implanted in patients at the Golden Jubilee.