BOSTON, Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The 15th Annual
Scientific Meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA)
will feature a session entitled “Late Breaking Trials,” which will
highlight recent studies relating to heart failure.
Dr. D.J. van Veldhuisen, from The UMC Groningen, The
Netherlands, will discuss a recent study of heart failure patients
who are hospitalized with fluid overflow in the heart. Fluid
builds up in the heart, and the heart is unable to manage the
increase in fluid, which results in patients requiring a hospital
stay to correct the issue. This problem can cause weight gain,
fatigue and shortness of breath.
The study focused on strategies for early detection of fluid
overflow in order to avoid lengthy and costly hospital stays.
Doctors studied 350 patients who had implantable
cardioverter defibrillators with or without cardiac
resynchronization, and these were fitted with diagnostic systems to
monitor intrathoracic impedance, which reflects fluid in the
chest, a sign of (impeding) decompensation. The systems are
designed to emit a beep when fluid levels reach a certain
threshold, signaling the patient to contact their doctor.
Doctors sought to determine if these systems would provide
detection early enough to prevent the need for later
hospitalization. The patients who were fitted with active
diagnostic systems actually saw an increase in hospital visits,
rather than the decrease doctors had hoped for.
As Dr. van Veldhuisen points out, patients may have become
nervous about the alarm going off, which resulted in visits to the
hospital rather than a phone call to their doctor. Dr. van
Veldhuisen also notes that the human body naturally fluctuates from
day to day, so the question becomes how quickly should doctors
respond to slight changes
“Early detection of fluid buildup is the key to reducing
hospital stays and improving quality of life for patients,” said
Dr. van Veldh