Cardiac care goes wireless
Doctors may soon be able to remotely monitor cardiac activity by simply implanting a micro-electromechanical sensor in post-surgery heart patients.
According to senior iSuppli researcher Richard Dixon, an implantable MEMS device with the potential to "revolutionize" cardiac care has already been designed and manufactured by an Atlanta-based company known as CardioMEMS.
"The CardioMEMS system features an implantable MEMS pressure sensor that monitors the heart for the tell-tale buildup of pressure in pulmonary arteries following cardiac surgery," Dixon told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.
"[It] includes signal processing electronics, a user interface and an antenna [which enables] the system to wirelessly communicate with the sensor and report data telemetrically (remotely) to a physician.
"The doctor can then adjust treatment as necessary - without hospitalization - yielding huge cost savings for patients and health providers alike."
Dixon noted that unit sales potential for the CardioMEMS device is pegged to hit "several, tens of thousands by 2014," while future shipments could eventually amount to hundreds of thousands, or even the low millions.
"Still, at present, the only high-volume medical applications for MEMS consist of disposable blood pressure sensors costing $1 that are used during operations, or for respiratory monitoring pressure sensors that are non-disposable and command higher prices.
"In comparison, the specialist packaging and wireless transmission afforded by the pressure sensor used by CardioMEMS adds considerable value and will lead to a long-term market several times larger in revenue than that of disposable pressure sensors," he added.