The use of an investigational device that monitors fluid accumulation in the lungs reduced heart failure-related hospitalizations and deaths in patients with heart failure.
The Edema Guard Monitor alerts patients to an increase in fluid in the lungs, also called pulmonary congestion or edema, before they have symptoms, said Michael K. Shochat, MD, of Hillel Yaffe Heart Institute in Hadera, Israel, and lead author of the study. Shochat is also president of RS Medical Monitoring, the Israel-based company that manufactures the Edema Guard Monitor.
“By the time a patient shows clinical signs of pulmonary congestion, the condition is already at an advanced stage,” Shochat said. “Many patients need emergency hospitalization and have a high probability of sustaining irreversible damage to the heart and lungs. In this study, patients who used the Edema Guard Monitor started taking medication well before pulmonary congestion reached an advanced stage.”
The Edema Guard Monitor–a stand-alone device–measures lung impedance, or resistance to electrical current, Shochat said. Healthy, air-filled lungs are highly resistant to electrical current, whereas lungs swollen by fluid are less resistant. In pulmonary congestion, the lungs gradually become more and more swollen by fluid. Existing techniques for monitoring worsening pulmonary congestion, such as periodic chest X-rays or computed tomography (CT) scans of the lungs, are costly or not highly effective. Preliminary studies had suggested that lung impedance-guided treatment could reduce hospitalizations for heart failure.
“This study shows for the first time that a noninvasive lung impedance monitor can be used to detect pulmonary congestion in its earliest stages and that adequate medical treatment at that early stage can significantly reduce both hospitalizations and mortality,” Shochat said.