Device Therapy for Cardiomyopathy & Heart Failure

At NYU Langone, our surgeons may recommend a wireless implantable device that allows them to track heart function in people with heart failure. Our cardiac specialists at the Heart Failure Advanced Care Center were the first doctors in the tristate area to implement CardioMEMS™, a monitoring device that can help people with heart failure avoid hospitalizations.

Sometimes, people with cardiomyopathy or heart failure require treatment for heart rhythm disorders. Doctors at NYU Langone’s Heart Rhythm Center implant cardiac devices, including cardiac defibrillators or pacemakers, which help maintain a regular heartbeat and protect the heart from the dangerous effects of certain types of arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, such as atrial fibrillation.

Highly skilled heart surgeons, cardiologists, cardiac device management specialists, and electrophysiologists—doctors who specialize in heart rhythm disorders—work together to help improve heart rhythm and function. These specialists collaborate to create individualized care plans for each person, including medication plans and proper resynchronization settings for cardiac devices.

People who have pacemakers or defibrillators are given a home monitor that transmits information about their devices via telephone lines, cellular networks, or the internet to specialists at NYU Langone’s Heart Rhythm Center.

Heart Failure Monitor

Your NYU Langone doctor may implant a wireless device called CardioMEMS. It measures the pressure in the pulmonary artery, which is the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs. This allows your doctor to track your heart function and your response to medication for heart failure.

In a minimally invasive procedure, your doctor makes a puncture in the leg. He or she then inserts a hollow tube called a catheter through the femoral vein and advances it to the pulmonary artery, which carries blood from the heart to the lungs.

The doctor inserts a guide wire through the catheter, which is then removed. A small sensor is then inserted over the wire to implant it in the pulmonary artery.

The procedure takes less than an hour and may require an overnight stay in the hospital. You may then return to your usual activities.

The device sends readings to a bedside computer unit. These readings are transmitted to your doctor via a secure internet site. This allows the doctor to detect any changes in your condition, such as shortness of breath, even before you notice symptoms.

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator

Implantable cardioverter defibrillators detect a life-threatening, rapid heartbeat called ventricular fibrillation and deliver a series of electrical pulses or an electrical shock, restoring the normal heart rhythm. This is known as defibrillation.

People with dilated cardiomyopathy are often candidates for implantable defibrillators, as are some people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

At NYU Langone, cardioverter defibrillators are implanted through an incision under the collarbone. The procedure takes 30 to 60 minutes and requires an overnight stay in the hospital.

For two weeks after the procedure, your activities may be restricted, including driving and lifting items heavier than 10 pounds.

Biventricular Pacemaker

A pacemaker—a battery-operated device the size of two half-dollar pieces pressed together—is implanted in the chest to keep the heart beating at a normal rate. The device sends electrical signals to your heart to help it maintain a regular rhythm.

Biventricular pacemakers are typically used to manage arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, caused by heart failure. This condition causes the organ’s lower left chamber, or ventricle, to pump erratically.

The type of device works like a conventional pacemaker, which is connected to the heart with two or more wires, called leads. A biventricular pacemaker has a third wire that sends electrical impulses to the heart to improve the efficiency of the heart’s contractions.

NYU Langone heart surgeons typically implant the pacemaker under the skin, below the right or left collarbone. Pacemaker implantation is performed using a sedative as well as a local anesthetic at the implantation site. It takes 30 to 60 minutes to complete and requires an overnight hospital stay.

Your doctor may limit your activity for up to two weeks after the procedure.

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