Groundbreaking Use of Radar-Equipped Vests in a Hospital Promises to Improve the Care of Heart Failure Patients The vests should help patients avoid unneeded return trips
Greensboro–Dr. Dan Bensimhon tends to see things differently. At a conference, the director of the Cone Health Advanced Heart Failure Clinic noticed a small vest that uses military technology to measure fluid in the lungs of patients. The company saw the vest as a way for people with heart failure to catch fluid buildup at home before it became a problem. Bensimhon saw the vest as an opportunity to change the way heart failure patients are cared for in a big way. Thanks to a study underway at Cone Health, we will soon find out if he is right.
Heart failure is one of the most common reasons that people over the age of 65 are in the hospital. Fluid builds up in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Medications can remove the excess fluid, but doctors can’t be sure that it is really gone. This means that many heart failure patients leave the hospital only to return in a few days. That is where the ReDs™ System designed by Sensible Medical Innovations Ltd comes into play.
The Israeli-based company uses military technology in its fluid-measuring vest. The vest can be worn over clothing and takes only 90 seconds to measure lung fluid. Bensimhon expects it to lead to better care. “This is a critical piece of information to have when managing heart failure patients,” says Bensimhon. “It will allow me to know who can go home today and who needs more treatment. The ReDS System will help our patients avoid coming back to the hospital, and they will have more confidence in the care they are receiving.”
In the Cone Health trial, heart failure patients will get a vest reading. Data from the vest will guide which patients can go home or may need to stay an extra day. Researchers will then compare readmission rates between patients who were measured with the vest to those that were managed without the vest.
Triad HealthCare Network is putting the vest to wider use immediately. The accountable care organization has purchased four vests to improve care for its patients. All heart failure patients at Alamance Regional Medical Center will use the ReDS System to make sure they are ready to go home. Select heart failure patients at Randolph Hospital will have lung fluid levels checked during home visits. This will help avoid unneeded return trips to the hospital. The vests will also be used in the emergency department of The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital. There it will help doctors quickly determine if the patient complaining of shortness of breath has worsening heart failure or another reason to be short of breath like bronchitis or pneumonia. These applications mark the first time the vests are being used in a hospital to guide treatment.
“The first commercial use of the ReDS System in the United States reflects our ongoing commitment to deliver a patient-friendly solution for people with lung fluid problems— including heart failure,” says Amir Ronen, CEO of Sensible Medical. “Our system changes the way heart failure patients are managed, whether they are treated at the hospital, in the clinic or at home. We are confident that Dr. Bensimhon’s research will prove it.”