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New procedure can detect cardiac problems before they advance

A new procedure in Mid-Missouri is breathing new life into hope for cardiac patients.

Boone Hospital is implanting a new device called a cardio MEMS into patients. The device sends patient updates electronically without the patient ever having to set foot in a hospital.

For heart patients, the cardio MEMS monitors the amount of fluid building up in their body. It lets doctors know when a patient is going into heart failure well before the doctors would otherwise know.

For those living with the device, it’s keeping them from making frequent trips to the hospital.

The first patient to have the procedure done in Mid-Missouri told ABC 17 News she is happy with the changes she’s seen in just 6 weeks.

84-year-old Joan Camp moved to Columbia to be closer to family.

She’s a cardiac patient at Boone Hospital who used to make multiple trips to see doctors every week. Not only was it exhausting for her, but it was increasingly hard for her family. Her son Mark lives just down the street.

“It’s more efficient, it’s more convenient for my mother, and what’s good for her, is good for me too,” said Mark.

“I wake up feeling good, except when I get full of fluid, I get real sore and sluggish, but as soon as I get rid of that I’m ready to go,” said Camp.

It’s just about the size of a quarter, and Camp said she doesn’t even know it’s there. She told ABC 17 she talks to a nurse everyday instead of making a trip to the hospital.

These days, Joan just lays on a pillow that’s also a transmitter, allowing the cardio MEMS to send reports to her doctors, allowing her to keep living life.

“I have a little garden, six tomato plants, but i feel good,” said Camp.

Doctors implant these devices in more serious heart patients. Cardiologist, Dr. Dan Pierce, said the device warns them before things go wrong, allowing them to curb heart failure.

“Typically we have to wait for the ankles to swell, or the abdomen to swell, or they have shortness of breath before we know they are in congestive heart failure. And then they have to come into the hospital to get the fluid taken off,”said Pierce.

Camp’s family told ABC 17 News the MEMS gives them peace of mind.

Not only does it keep them from making several trips to the hospital, the device gives them more information.

“I think when her fluid levels do go up, we’re right on it and we know that day we know. Before we were depending on body weight, and how she looked and felt, it wasn’t quite as finite as we wanted.”

The cardio MEMS has had success around the nation, but Boone Hospital is the first in Mid-Missouri to offer the implant.

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