12:43 PM

Implant Allows Doctors to Monitor Heart Patients Remotely

CardioMEMS Device Now Available at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital and Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital

BCVI CardioMEMS Kishwaukee Launch Berry

DEKALB, Ill. - Due to congestive heart failure, 81-year-old Diana Morrasy has experienced some anxiety regarding her health in recent years. Some of that worry has been eased for the Sycamore, Illinois resident, thanks to a remote monitoring system that allows her health care team at the Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute to keep an eye on her vital statistics every day.

Morrasy was the first patient at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital to undergo a procedure to implant a CardioMEMSTM device. The implant allows remote monitoring of pulmonary artery pressures. Elevation of pulmonary artery pressure can be an early indicator of worsening heart failure. The device is now also available at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva, Ill.

“The paperclip-sized device is implanted in the pulmonary artery in a manner similar to a standard right heart catheterization, which is a common procedure performed,” said Christopher J. Berry, MD, interventional cardiologist at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital. “It has been shown to improve quality of life and reduce heart failure readmissions.”

Following the procedure, the patient receives a special pillow that sends readings from the CardioMEMS sensor. The patient must lie down on the pillow for just a few seconds each day. The sensor sends the readings to a team of physicians and advanced practice nurses to review.

Through remote monitoring, the clinical team can detect changes up to 30 days before the patient would experience symptoms and take proactive action to protect the patient’s health and prevent hospitalization.  

“The CardioMEMS device helps us see signs of fluid buildup in the lungs much earlier than the patient or even the doctor can detect. Fluid accumulates when the heart does not relax or contract to pump the blood as well as it should,” said Michelle C. Montpetit, MD, a specialist in advanced heart failure and heart transplantation at Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute. “A patient often can have their medication adjusted without being seen in the office each time.”

Earlier this month, the first CardioMEMs procedure at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital was completed by Nauman Mushtaq, MD, medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Central DuPage Hospital, Delnor Hospital and Kishwaukee Hospital; and William P. Towne, MD, interventional cardiologist at Delnor Hospital. 

"The ability to remotely monitor and adjust medications allows people to continue to enjoy living at home with no disruption in their lives,” said Dr. Mushtaq.

For Morrasy, the device has given her, and her family, some peace of mind. She says the procedure was not difficult and she makes it a routine to lie on the pillow before making her bed every morning.

“I’m at the point that this is a life-saving device,” said Morrasy. “I’ve had enough heart scares that I was more than willing to do this. I’m looking forward to more good years.”

Previously, local patients had to travel to Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield or Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago for the implant. CardioMEMs is also available at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital, Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital, Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital and Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital.

To learn more about cardiovascular services at Northwestern Medicine, visit