New technology at UNM medical center combines pacemaker, defibrillator | KOB 4
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New technology at UNM medical center combines pacemaker, defibrillator

Emily Jaceks
January 20, 2018 09:34 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It's one of the most serious conditions, and a costly one for patients.

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Heart failure happens when the heart can't pump enough blood and oxygen to the body, leaving those who suffer feeling absolutely terrible.

“Well I did feel a bit tired, you know, fatigued when I did do things," Lawrence Longo said.

Longo says he's been through it all; the weight gain due to fluid retention, the shortness of breath, days when he said he felt like dying. He had a pacemaker installed, but it wasn't helping.

So doctors recommended going to a new technology called Resonate – a combination of a pacemaker and defibrillator.

Dr. Khoo, a cardiologist, said Resonate doesn't only pace the patient's heart, protecting them from dying suddenly – it provides an important shock should they go into cardiac arrest. The device also eliminates costly emergency room and hospital visits by monitoring patients, remotely sending data and alerts to their provider at the same time.

“We can also detect problems a lot soon than before the patient even feels bad,” Khoo said.

It's definitely had an impact on at least one patient. Longo said he's never felt better.

“My heart feels like its pumping better. I do take my blood pressure, and my blood pressure has been down. In fact it was 98 over 83, which was good, so it’s been staying down below 115,” he said.

That device is now available at UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center. It's not cheap; before insurance, it's about $30,000 for the device and monitoring and another $150,000 for the procedure itself.

But it can be life-saving, and doctors and patients say it does improve their quality of life.

 

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Emily Jaceks

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