Tracking Hearts from Home

FRESNO, Calif.

It's a special day when a grandpa shares his favorite hobby with his granddaughter. Walter Pieschel didn't think he'd get this chance.

"I went into sudden cardiac arrest on four different occasions," Pieschel told Ivanhoe.

Weight gain is the most obvious sign of heart failure. When hearts slow down, fluids build up. Doctor's say the scale was the best diagnostic tool, until now. This sensor, about the size of a paper clip, could be a new way to manage heart failure.

"This is the pressure sensor we deploy in the pulmonary artery," Ayesha Hasan, M.D., cardiologist at Ohio State Medical Center in Columbus, OH, said.

It detects fluid buildup. Each day, patients lay in a special matt with sensors that read fluid levels. It transmits the results back to the doctors.

"We can log onto the system and you can look at the pressures for that day," Dr. Hasan explained. "You can look at a trend. I get an e-mail everyday, and you can make adjustments."

This sensor turns into a daily doctor's checkup without leaving the house.

"I've got that confidence level back because I know somebody is watching over me," Pieschel said.

Doctors called Pieschel 10 times over the two-year trial, alerting him to fluid building in his lungs. Instead of being admitted, he took medication and turned his attention back to his granddaughter.

And you can bet Pieschel will be by this fisher-girl's side to see her reel in the big one.

Study results just released show a 38 percent decrease in hospitalizations for patients who were managed with a sensor, and after one year, none of the sensors need to be removed or replaced.

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Melissa Medalie

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