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Jackson Memorial Hospital Implants Country's First Medical Device to Manage Heart Failure with Thoracic Fluid Status Monitoring.

MIAMI -- Miami Hospital Helps Signal New Era in Heart Failure Management

Jackson Memorial Hospital today announced it has implanted the country's first implantable medical device with automatic fluid status monitoring in the thoracic cavity, the chest area encompassing the lungs and heart. Alberto Interian, Jr., M.D., Professor of Medicine, Chief, Division of Cardiology and Director of Electrophysiology at University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center, implanted the Medtronic InSync Sentry(TM) cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) defibrillator system in a 70-year-old man on December 13, 2004.

"We are extremely pleased to announce our ability to perform this major early detection breakthrough for patients and our healthcare system in general. Jackson Memorial Hospital is now able to offer this advanced implantable device for many of our patients who have heart failure, enabling us to alter medications and keep patients out of the hospital.

"In addition to providing important therapies to treat heart failure and fast heart rhythms, this is the first time we'll be able to have early notification about fluid accumulation in the lungs, which may signal future worsening of heart failure symptoms," said Dr. Interian. According to the American Heart Association, patients with heart failure are six to nine times more likely to suffer an episode of sudden cardiac arrest than the general population. Heart failure afflicts five million Americans and is the number one cause of hospital admissions, with most of these admissions due to fluid accumulation in the thorax. The new implantable therapy is expected to provide a critical advantage in managing heart failure, since thoracic fluid accumulation is a primary indicator of worsening heart failure and often results in patient hospitalization. The InSync Sentry system was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in November 2004.

This fluid buildup often goes undetected until the patient is critically ill, and it is not unusual for patients to require hospitalization or urgent treatment at an emergency room for severe respiratory distress. With approximately one million hospitalizations each year for heart failure at a cost of an estimated $40 billion annually, heart failure management is a tremendous cost burden to the country's healthcare system.

The breakthrough feature that makes thoracic fluid measurement possible is called OptiVol(TM) Fluid Status Monitoring, which measures changes in impedance. Using very low electrical pulses that travel across the thoracic cavity, the system can measure the level of resistance to the electrical pulses, which indicates the level of fluid in the thorax. Since normal fluid levels may vary from patient to patient, and fluid accumulation can be either slow or rapid, OptiVol's ability to measure fluid status trends over time can provide important insights in conjunction with ongoing monitoring of other patient symptoms.

InSync Sentry will provide vital patient information to physicians who implant CRT defibrillator systems and also to physicians who manage the ongoing care of heart failure patients.

In the future, physicians will be able to access data gathered by the InSync Sentry system using the Internet and through wireless transmissions that will not require direct patient interaction. InSync Sentry is an ideal therapy option for the 400,000 Americans with heart failure who have dysynchronous beating in the heart's lower chambers and low blood output that places them at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.

CRT resynchronizes the contractions of the heart's lower chambers by sending tiny electrical impulses to the heart muscle, which can help the heart pump blood throughout the body more efficiently and reduce heart failure symptoms. The system's defibrillation capability offers 35 joules of delivered energy to treat a potentially lethal heart rhythm, which is important for heart failure patients who may require more energy to terminate life-threatening arrhythmias.

Jackson Memorial Hospital is an accredited, non-profit, tertiary care hospital and the major teaching facility for the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. With 1,498 licensed beds, Jackson Memorial Hospital's many roles in South Florida include a regional referral center and a magnet for medical research and innovation.

Based on the number of admissions to a single facility, Jackson Memorial is one of the nation's busiest hospitals. Its strength is a broad range of tertiary services and clinical programs designed to serve the entire community, and a medical staff that is recognized nationally for the quality of its patient care, teaching and research. In combination, these provide Miami-Dade County with a unique community resource. Jackson Memorial Hospital is the hub of the Jackson Health System, a countywide network of healthcare services that consists of 12 primary care centers, seven school-based clinics, two long-term nursing facilities, one diagnostic center and one community hospital.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Dec 14, 2004
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