Wireless Heart Pressure Monitor Promises Revolution In Coronary Care

Thirty-Eight Percent Reduction in Hospitalizations in First Year Reported In Clinical Trials

2 min read
Wireless Heart Pressure Monitor Promises Revolution In Coronary Care

There was an interesting story reported on ABC WorldNews last night concerning a wireless heart pressure monitor that is in clinical trials and is causing a stir in the medical community.

The heart pressure monitor, which is described as being about the size of a paper clip, is implanted into a patient's pulmonary artery in a procedure that takes about seven minutes. Once in place, a patient passes a wand over their chest which then powers the implant which in turn transmits the patient's heart mean pressure, systolic pressure, diastolic pressure, heart rate and cardiac output to a receiver that sends the information to a secure web site. The patient's doctor then can review the information at his or her computer or on a hand held device.

The reason why this is such a big deal is that the clinical trial is reporting that patients with the device experienced a 38% reduction in hospitalizations in the first year, which ABC News says is a "huge number in the medical world."

(If someone can tell me what is an "average number" for these types of clinical trials for comparison, I would appreciate it.)

Another reason is that the monitor provides a level of information about a patient's heart that is radically improved over what is generally available to doctors today. The ABC News story says that doctors have typically depended on increases in a patient's weight as reported by daily weigh-ins to give them indications that something might be amiss with the patient's heart.

Dr. William Abraham, a principal researcher in the study was quoted in the story saying that, "We now know that daily weight change is very insensitive to predicting episodes of worsening heart failure."

(I should note that in this 2008 paper titled "Correlation between intrasac pressure measurements of a pressure sensor and an angiographic catheter during endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm", it says "The 'gold standard' for AAA [abdominal aortic aneurysms] pressure measurements is the use of intrasac catheters (with a sensor tip or fluid column. Nevertheless, a catheter with a fluid column for pressure gauging has limited accuracy, and reading errors may arise from use of an excessively long catheter or an incomplete fluid column due to bubble or thrombus formation. These shortcomings highlight the importance of non-invasive pressure measurement methods.")

The device, called the EndoSure Wireless AAA Pressure Management System, is made by CardioMEMS and was approved for clinical trials in March 2007. It is waiting US Food and Drug Administration final approval, the story says.

A more detailed description of the results found during the clinical trials conducted at the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at The Ohio State University Medical Center can be found here.

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Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning?

Extracting and using brain data will make workers happier and more productive, backers say

11 min read
A photo collage showing a man wearing a eeg headset while looking at a computer screen.
Nadia Radic

Get ready: Neurotechnology is coming to the workplace. Neural sensors are now reliable and affordable enough to support commercial pilot projects that extract productivity-enhancing data from workers’ brains. These projects aren’t confined to specialized workplaces; they’re also happening in offices, factories, farms, and airports. The companies and people behind these neurotech devices are certain that they will improve our lives. But there are serious questions about whether work should be organized around certain functions of the brain, rather than the person as a whole.

To be clear, the kind of neurotech that’s currently available is nowhere close to reading minds. Sensors detect electrical activity across different areas of the brain, and the patterns in that activity can be broadly correlated with different feelings or physiological responses, such as stress, focus, or a reaction to external stimuli. These data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier. Two of the most interesting innovators in this field are the Israel-based startup InnerEye, which aims to give workers superhuman abilities, and Emotiv, a Silicon Valley neurotech company that’s bringing a brain-tracking wearable to office workers, including those working remotely.

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