Improving Quality of Life Continues to be Patient’s Motivation

After a massive heart attack in 2006 left Jennifer Kunze with a slate of issues pertaining to her heart health, she knew she needed further guidance. With intervention from Lutheran Hospital’s cardiac catheterization team, Kunze is now one of the many heart failure patients with the ability to take an active role in managing this disease through wireless monitoring technology.

Through the implantation of a quarter-sized device, wireless monitoring sensors now enable Kunze to transmit daily sensor readings from her home directly to her healthcare provider. This updated system for managing heart failure results is personalized and supports proactive management to reduce the likelihood of hospitalization. Most importantly, for patients like Kunze, it improves quality of life.

The decision to have this device implanted was simple for Kunze, who was highly motivated to return to her normal activities. “I am able to now have more control over monitoring my heart health as well as my overall quality of life,” she said.

Morning sensor readings are now part of the daily routine for Kunze. These are conducted by positioning herself on a specialized pillow which provides verbal instructions on how to find the correct position to gather a proper reading. It also updates users when readings have been completed and received by the healthcare provider. “It is amazing to witness how technology has advanced,” she stated. “This is something I thought I would need frequent appointments to fulfill, so I am very fortunate to be able to do this in the comfort of my home.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 6 million Americans have heart failure, with 900,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Patients with this condition are frequently hospitalized, have a reduced quality of life and face a higher risk of premature death. Technology such as this provides long-term assistance using a device designed to last the entirety of a patient’s lifetime with no battery or replaceable parts.

Kunze, whose device was implanted in October 2019, has monthly visits to continue monitoring the implant site and her medications. “The compassionate care I have received at Lutheran Hospital is second to none,” she said. “Everyone was extremely understanding and let me know from the beginning that they were in my corner. From continually reaching out to see how I was doing to checking if I needed a ride arranged for an appointment, I always felt valued.”