Posted on April 16, 2012 at 7:29 AM
It kills more people than any other disease in the U.S. Now, new technology is helping doctors keep better tabs on heart disease.
Rodney Clarke already has a pacemaker, defibrillator, and an aortic valve implant. Now he's one of the first to get a new implanted monitor.
"It's given me the availability of being able to have some of the quality of my life back," said Clarke.
Dr. Spencer Rosero is one of the leading researchers on the device. It's implanted in the chest and a wire is connected to the heart. Patients collect readings by waving this hand-held device over their chest. The information helps them figure out when and how much medication to take.
"It's actually one of the latest technology advances that allows us to move to what we call personalized medicine," said Dr. Rosero. "If you have the information there every day then you can adjust the medications every day."
Constant monitoring helps better control heart disease.
"The goal is to keep patients out of the hospital and modify the medications so they only take the medicine when they really need it," said Dr. Rosero.
So far, Clarke has been able to avoid a transplant.
"I'm humbled. I'm very, very humbled," he said.
Now he's spending more time at home instead of the hospital.
Dr. Rosero says the monitor allows patients to take a proactive role in their own care much like the way people with diabetes test their own blood sugar levels.
The closest clinical trial sites are in California.