Pulmonary Artery Pressure Monitoring

By monitoring your pulmonary artery (PA) pressure, your doctor may be able to detect worsening heart failure even before you feel symptoms. This could allow time for a medication change, reducing your chance of ending up in the hospital.
By monitoring your pulmonary artery (PA) pressure, your doctor may be able to detect worsening heart failure even before you feel symptoms. This could allow time for a medication change, reducing your chance of ending up in the hospital.

The CardioMEMS™ HF System features a sensor that is placed in your pulmonary artery to measure and monitor PA pressure and heart rate. Using an electronics unit that comes as part of the system, you will take daily measurements and send them wirelessly to your doctor to review. Clinical studies show that patients whose clinicians used a PA sensor to manage heart failure actually had fewer hospitalizations and improved quality of life.

Your Implant Procedure

The PA sensor is no bigger than the size of a dime with a two thin loops at each end. This sensor does not require any batteries or wires. The sensor will be placed in the pulmonary artery (the blood vessel that moves blood from your heart to your lungs), and it will send information directly to your doctor through a bedside electronics unit.

You may receive a mild sedative before and/or during the procedure, but you will be awake so you can follow instructions. A nurse will clean an area on your upper thigh and a local anesthetic will be injected at that site. An electrocardiogram (EKG) will constantly monitor your heart rate and rhythm.

Your doctor will make a small incision and insert a device called a catheter into your femoral vein. Using a fluoroscope (a type of X-ray), he or she will thread the catheter through your body to your heart and into your pulmonary artery. The doctor will check that the catheter is in the right position and release the sensor into your artery. The doctor will then hold an antenna to your back, chest or side to make sure that it can read the signals from the sensor.

The length of the procedure depends on your specific anatomy and the time it takes to locate a good position for the sensor. After it is completed, you may be asked to lie flat on your back for a few hours to prevent bleeding. You may feel some mild discomfort at the site as you recover. You should be able to return to normal activities soon after the procedure.

Your PA sensor is permanently implanted. You will not feel it, and it will not interfere with your daily activities. The sensor will not interfere with other devices you may have such as a pacemaker or defibrillator.

Implant Risks

As with any medical procedure, there are risks associated with the implantation of a sensor, although complications are very rare. Some of these risks include:

  • Arrhythmias
  • Bleeding
  • Death
  • Device embolization
  • Hematoma
  • Infection
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Stroke
  • Thrombus
  • Transient ischemic attack

Be sure to talk with your doctor so that you thoroughly understand all of the risks and benefits associated with the implantation of this sensor.

After Your Implant

As you recover from your implant procedure, it is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions, including:

  • Report any redness, swelling or drainage from the insertion site.
  • Walk, exercise and bathe according to your doctor’s instructions.
  • Contact your doctor if you develop a fever that does not go away in two to three days.
  • Ask your doctor any questions you have about your device, heart failure or your medication.

You will receive training about how to set up and take daily readings with your Patient Electronics System before you go home. A customer service representative will be available should you have any questions after you are home, or you can refer to the Patient Electronics System Video


CardioMEMS™ HF System

Recommended videos:

  • Improving Quality of Life with the CardioMEMS™ HF System 
  • CardioMEMS™ Patient Electronics System

Watch Videos 

Recommended links:

Find out more about CardioMEMSTM HF System

Infographic: Managing Heart Failure

News release: CardioMEMS Data Shows Pulmonary Artery Pressure Monitoring Significantly Reduces Heart Failure Hospitalizations in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (09/15/2014)

1. Heart Failure Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_heart_failure.htm. Accessed September 18, 2014.

2. Costs to treat heart failure expected to more than double by 2030. American Heart Association. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/costs-to-treat-heart-failure-expected-to-more-than-double-by-2030. Accessed September 18, 2014.

Find out more about the CHAMPION Clinical Trial

Recovery – PA Sensor 


Last Reviewed: September 18, 2014 SJM-MEM-0914-0024