Cardiology, patient monitoring  

Medtronic evaluates remote monitoring of heart activity, weight and blood pressure in heart failure patients

14 May 2005

Minneapolis, USA. Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT), has begun a U.S. pilot evaluation with Carematix, Inc. to assess the efficacy and convenience of remotely monitoring physiological heart data, weight and blood pressure in the management of heart failure.

Patients with heart failure (NYHA Class II, III or IV) and a Medtronic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) or cardiac resynchronization therapy ICD (CRT-D) device will participate in the evaluation, called REACH HF (Remote Evaluation using Augmented CareLink Network transmissions for the management of Heart Failure).

Stephen Hustead, D.O., Metropolitan Cardiology Consultants, Coon Rapids, Minn., enrolled the first patient in REACH HF last week. The patient has a Medtronic InSync Sentry(TM) CRT-D system to treat heart failure, which is the world's only implantable medical therapy offering automatic fluid status monitoring in the thoracic cavity, the chest area encompassing the lungs and heart.

Patients will regularly transmit physiological information from home to clinicians using both the Medtronic CareLink(R) Network and the Carematix(TM) Wellness System. With the Medtronic CareLink Network, patients transmit comprehensive heart rhythm activity data from their implantable cardiac device to a secure server using a portable monitor that is connected to a standard phone line. Using the Carematix Wellness System, patients transmit weight and blood pressure information from wireless biometric devices to a base station and then to a secure server via a phone line. Physicians and nurses subsequently review the data on confidential Internet websites as they care for participating patients and will report on the clinical utility of the combined data for the management of heart failure.

"Heart failure is often an unstable condition that can be very difficult to manage, and getting access to the right data in a convenient manner is paramount to better care for heart failure patients," said Reggie Groves, vice president of Medtronic Patient Management. "Medtronic is already able to deliver critical physiologic information to physicians with innovations like the Medtronic CareLink Network and InSync Sentry system. REACH HF furthers our commitment to understanding the value of regular, remote access to various physiologic information. We are pleased to collaborate with Carematix and look forward to applying our learnings to future Medtronic products and services soon."

"Carematix shares Medtronic's vision of enhancing the care of chronic disease by delivering timely, important clinical information from patient homes to physicians for informed interventions. Our system enhances patient compliance by requiring minimal behavior change; for example, the wireless weight scale can be placed in a location most convenient for the patient. We hope this evaluation will lead to advancements in the management of those suffering from heart failure," said Sukhwant Khanuja, PhD, CEO of Carematix.

An estimated five million Americans live with heart failure, a condition in which the heart can no longer pump enough blood to sufficiently meet the body's needs. Symptoms often severely limit participation in normal activities — walking down one supermarket aisle can be too far to go without stopping to rest. Spikes in weight or significant changes in blood pressure are early indications that the patient's condition is deteriorating. The ability to closely monitor patients outside the medical setting combined with an early disease management program has been shown to reduce hospitalization and mortality.

Heart failure is the most costly cardiovascular disease in the United States at an estimated $40 billion per year. As the largest single line item for Medicare, heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization for people over 65.

More information about the Medtronic CareLink Network can be found at

Additional information about Carematix is available at

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