Barnabas Health Medical Group/NJ Cardiologist Associates Participate in the First New Heart Failure Implant


Essex County, NJ – Joseph Zjawin, 84, of Newark, NJ, exclaimed he felt like “a new man” now more confident in managing his Heart Failure following the placement of the CardioMEMS Heart Failure (HF) System at the Barnabas Health Heart Center at Clara Maass Medical Center (CMMC) in Belleville. In late May, Joseph was the first patient to receive the device at an Essex County facility, making CMMC the first hospital in the county to implant the only FDA-approved Heart Failure monitoring device proven to significantly reduce hospital admissions. This new system allows patients to transmit daily sensor readings from their homes to physician offices, allowing for personalized and proactive Heart Failure management to reduce the likelihood of hospitalization.

Heart Failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 5.1 million Americans have Heart Failure, with 670,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Patients with Heart Failure are frequently hospitalized, have a reduced quality of life and face a higher risk of death.

According to Elie Y. Chakhtoura, MD, FACC, FSCAI, Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, CMMC, and physician of Barnabas Health Medical Group who performed the procedure, the CardioMEMS HF System features a sensor that is implanted in the Pulmonary Artery (PA) on the right side of the heart through a catheter in a patient’s groin. “The entire procedure takes less than an hour,” he adds.

“Once the sensor is implanted, it immediately begins to monitor PA pressures, which often increase in Heart Failure patients before the more common external indicators of weight and blood pressure changes appear,” explains Joseph’s cardiologist, Donald G. Rubenstein, MD, New Jersey Cardiology Associates, Barnabas Health Medical Group. “This alerts us to crucial pressure changes up to 21 days prior to other symptoms appearing, allowing for earlier intervention to prevent worsening Heart Failure.”

To transmit data to Dr. Rubenstein’s office, Joseph simply positions himself on a special pillow provided by CardioMEMS and follows verbal instructions given by the electronic system. The process takes less than one minute each day. “It’s easy to operate and works beautifully,” describes Joseph. “The machine talks to you, so you know the transmission was a success.”

Loisann Stapleton, CHFN, ACNP, Outpatient Heart Failure Nurse Practitioner, of Barnabas Health Medical Group works with patients like Joseph about the CardioMEMS equipment prior to them going home following the procedure. She is also the recipient of Joseph’s daily readings and collaborates with Drs. Chakhtoura and Rubenstein to comprehensively manage his condition from an Interventional, Electrophysiology and general Heart Failure management standpoint.

“Helping patients like Joseph effectively manage Heart Failure at home is the result of a true team approach,” says Ms. Stapleton. “The patient is as important as we are as clinicians in helping to monitor and address condition changes quickly to avoid the potential for worsening symptoms that may lead to reduced quality of life and repeated hospital visits. ”