NUI Galway researchers have announced a collaboration with US medtech company Endotronix in a project ‘CRÓGA’ to use telehealth for remote management of heart failure during COVID-19.
Imperative to protect heart failure patients
Heart failure patients who contract COVID-19 face substantially elevated risk of death or severe debilitation so it is imperative to protect heart failure patients from exposure to the virus by isolating them at home as much as possible.
Dr Faisal Sharif, left, and Dr Haroon Zafar, School of Medicine, NUI Galway.
However, the need for outpatient clinic cardiology assessment directly conflicts with the need to isolate this extremely vulnerable population.
Chicago-based Endotronix has developed a health management system for chronic heart failure patients, including a cloud-based disease management data system and an implantable wireless pulmonary artery pressure system. This system allows remote monitoring of key clinical information of the patients.
Home telehealth kits will be rapidly deployed
In a pilot study, Endotronix’ Cordella™ heart failure management system home telehealth kits will be rapidly deployed to heart failure patients in the northwest of Ireland.
These kits are specifically designed to activate and use without leaving home. Daily readings include blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturation, body weight and ECG. Readings are uploaded to a cloud server and analysed at least twice weekly by dedicated NUI Galway/UHG clinical research staff.
Using phone, text, or email, the clinical staff provides advice, asks/answers questions, adjusts medications, and decides whether further therapy is needed.
Additionally, missed daily readings or deteriorating vitals may indicate a patient’s health has seriously degraded, triggering follow-up action. The project will be committed to the principles inherent in the GDPR and provide a compliant and consistent approach to data protection.
Dr Faisal Sharif, the project lead said: “We have seen an unprecedented growth in the capacity to produce, store, and communicate data, in digital formats. Internet-based platforms now allow patients and the healthcare providers to communicate with each other through cloud-based systems.
"Endotronix Cordella system will enable physicians to review important clinical information from these high risk patients while they remain safe in their own homes.
"This clinical information will be used to plan further treatment for the patients remotely. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of eHealth and technologies like Cordella can help us save lives of these vulnerable patients.”
Dr Haroon Zafar, the project co-lead said: “The double hit of heart failure and COVID-19 pandemic has raised great concerns for people living with heart failure. Ireland needs a better way to empower its cardiology resources to address heart failure during COVID-19.
"It must leverage telehealth technology to move heart failure management towards a preventive, home-based, patient-centred paradigm. The concept proven by project CRÓGA may be applied to other chronic underlying conditions that increase mortality risk during pandemics.”
David Fitzpatrick, advanced research and development manager at Endotronix Ireland said: “We are excited to work with NUI Galway to aid some of our most vulnerable patients in these difficult times. Using our Cordella System, we want to ensure a high standard of care and peace of mind for heart failure patients while cocooning.
"Cordella allows home based, remote, daily monitoring of user health vitals so that their clinical team can monitor and adjust treatment efficiently and without the need for an in-person clinic visit.”