The ‘game-changing’ heart implant that may reduce hospital admissions

A ‘game-changing’ chip implanted in heart patients can alert doctors to life-threatening changes, preventing tens of thousands of hospitalizations.

The remote alert system, installed in patients already receiving implanted devices such as pacemakers, means that cardiac data is transmitted live to hospital monitoring stations.

If risk thresholds are crossed, physicians are automatically alerted and can contact patients for immediate assessment.

The detailed information means doctors can prescribe medication or dose changes, advise diet changes, or refer patients for further testing.

Experts have called the system a “potential game-changer”, saying its widespread deployment could “significantly” reduce hospital admissions.

Drop in hospital admissions

UK research found the device was able to reduce hospital admissions by up to 60%, relieving pressure on the NHS.

Heart failure affects around 900,000 people in the UK, with 60,000 new cases a year.

The study led by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Manchester involved 758 patients from three local hospitals.

The majority suffered from heart failure and were already equipped with a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).

A total of 443 patients were followed with the new TriageHF Plus alert system, while 315 patients received standard care from their device.

Scientists found that the hospitalization rate was 58% lower in patients whose devices were monitored by TriageHF Plus.

Telephone assessment

In this group, the remote alert system issued a total of 196 “high risk” alerts, which led to a phone call assessment in 182 patients. Of the 182 phone calls, 79 (43%) were confirmed to have an acute medical condition, from which 44 people received secondary intervention.

The initial phone consultation took an average of just 10 minutes, with an average follow-up call of nine minutes 30 days later.

The scientists said the system could “significantly” reduce the number of hospitalizations while improving patient care.

There are around 100,000 hospital admissions each year for heart failure in the UK.

It is a common cause of unplanned admissions, and patients present with a variety of symptoms, including shortness of breath, chest pain, and severe fluid retention.

Heart failure is a huge burden on the NHS, accounting for 1 million bed days a year, 2% of the NHS total and 5% of all emergency hospital admissions.

The research, funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), was presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) congress in Barcelona.

Potential “game changer”

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director of the BHF, said: “Heart failure is a debilitating condition which, in the most severe cases, requires repeated hospital treatment due to the deterioration of the condition. This remote alert system has the potential to be a game-changer for people with heart failure, as their condition can be continuously monitored and action can be taken if there are signs of deterioration, reducing the need for hospitalization.

“At a time when patients are facing record wait times for cardiac care, it’s critical that we embrace scientific innovations like this that can help ease the strain on healthcare services by providing simple and effective ways to ensure cardiac patients receive prompt treatment and care outside of hospitals. »

Heart failure is a debilitating condition that affects the lives of nearly one million people in the UK.

For the majority of heart failure patients, there is no cure, so treatments focus on stabilizing the condition and managing symptoms.

Many patients with severe heart failure are fitted with a heart monitoring device that detects and treats dangerous and irregular heart rhythms.

Information automatically sent to the hospital

The new remote monitoring channel, called “TriageHF Plus”, acts as a risk detection tool and takes advantage of health data routinely collected by pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs).

Information – including heart rate, heart rate, physical activity and fluid accumulation in the lungs – is automatically transmitted to the hospital from the patient’s home.

The remote alert system notifies doctors and nurses when a person’s condition is at “high risk” for hospitalization within 30 days, prompting a telephone consultation to assess their condition.

When secondary intervention is needed, the heart failure nurse may modify the patient’s medication, advise lifestyle changes such as reduced salt intake or increased movement, step up their appointment for the heart failure or call for further tests, all with the goal of reducing the risk of hospitalization.

For a small minority, they can refer them to their GP or A&E service for further testing.

Extension of the new system

The team, led by cardiologist Dr Fozia Ahmed, now hope the new system will be used to monitor patients with cardiac devices and heart failure in other hospitals across the UK.

Professor Nick Linker, NHS National Clinical Director for Heart Disease, said: “The NHS long term plan sets out our ambition to drive earlier detection and monitoring of heart failure.

“Innovations like this are an example of how the NHS can apply new technologies to equip patients with remote monitoring and supported self-management tools to reduce avoidable and repeat hospitalizations. »

Dr Joanne Taylor, BHF Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, said: “People with heart failure tend to come to hospital for checks every six months, but for some their condition can decline rapidly between appointments.

“The beauty of this remote alert system and our journey is that it immediately issues a real-time alert when a potentially significant change in patient health data is detected, at a time when the patient’s condition may deteriorate. This means we can strike while the iron is hot and intervene early to prevent them from getting too sick and being hospitalized.

“It also gives us a great platform to treat heart failure opportunistically, where the phone consultation can signal other health issues like pneumonia or frailty. It’s a no-brainer to help keep heart failure patients out of hospital.

The ‘game-changing’ heart implant that may reduce hospital admissions

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