Medtech Helps Identify Heart Attacks Before They Even Happen

When Ed Covert stopped by the nurse’s station at work, he was hoping to get some extra-strength cold medication or a decongestant.

“I was having the full feeling in my chest, like when you’ve got a chest cold,” he said. “I was coughing a lot, trying to break the stuffy feeling.”

Little did Ed know, his cold-like symptoms pointed to a much scarier reality: Ed had already suffered two massive heart attacks, and he was heading for a third.

Ed is just one of more than 735,000 Americans who have a heart attack each year. Approximately 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year, making heart disease the country’s leading cause of death. In fact, Ed’s father died at 41 of heart disease.

Soon after his diagnosis, Ed underwent a six-way bypass and was given medication to help ease his pain and discomfort. Unfortunately, his condition only seemed to get worse. After much trial and error, Ed and his doctor still couldn’t seem to identify the right medicines and dosages. Not to mention, each tweak in Ed’s care plan required the 45-minute drive to his doctor’s office.

So a few months later, Ed’s doctor pitched a clinical trial for an innovative medical device. The device is placed directly in a patient’s pulmonary artery, where it senses trends in pressures and sends analysis directly to doctors. Doctors can then use the resulting data to assess progress and suggest treatment changes in real time.

“It’s amazing because this device lets the doctors know I’m heading for trouble before even I know about it,” said Ed. “Since the implantation, I’ve had a few medication changes over the phone. Without the device, I’d have to drive 45 minutes to the hospital to see a doctor. Because the device monitors me remotely, we can easily make medication changes without a visit.”

Medtech innovators are continually searching for ways to improve the way patients seek and receive health care. Ed’s story is just one example of the power of medical technology to give patients better control of their health and, ultimately, to help them live happier, more productive lives.

For more information on the impact of medical technology on heart disease, click here.

This story was originally reported by Reader’s Digest.