Implant detects signs of heart failure

Science & Research

December 17, 2004

A device that automatically detects early symptoms of congestive heart failure has been implanted in a patient in the United States for the first time. The device is designed to allow patients to get treatment earlier and stay healthier.

When fluid levels around the heart get too high, they can interfere with a normal heartbeat and cause death. The device implanted Monday in 70-year-old Antonio Comandari of Miami monitors the amount of fluid in the chest. If there is a buildup, doctors can prescribe medication to reduce it.

The $30,000 InSync Sentry device, built by Medtronic Inc., is about the size of a cigarette lighter and transmits radio signals that can yield a computer readout on the heart for up to seven years. It should be available for widespread use by February, said Comandari's physician, Dr. Alberto Interian.

About 400,000 Americans are candidates to receive the device, Interian said.

- Associated Press

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