How pandemic has advanced heart failure treatment: Baylor's chief of transplant cardiology weighs in

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Shelley Hall, MD, chief of transplant cardiology and advanced heart failure at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, spoke about emerging innovations in congestive heart failure treatment during a recent episode of the Becker's Healthcare cardiology podcast.

Here is an excerpt from the podcast. Click here to download the full episode.

Editor's note: This response was lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: How do you see heart failure care evolving in the next 18 months?

Dr. Shelley Hall: I would say that COVID-19 actually accelerated this field. I think that more emphasis is going to be placed on remote monitoring and patients' involvement in their care between app technologies, virtual visits through Zoom and televisits and ways to monitor so many aspects of a heart failure patient. You have the ability to track their vital signs, weight, quality of life measures, symptom burden — you can even track their EKG and do virtual exams through video conferencing. And then implantable sensors — one called the CardioMEMS can be implanted, and it is continually measuring their lung pressures — help us as providers  control their medications and adapt so that they don't decompensate and end up in the hospital.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing patients to stay in their homes away from hospitals, a lot of facilities were forced to adopt some of these technologies earlier than they otherwise would have, or at least accelerated the time table, and many are finding that they produce better patient care, and that we decrease hospitalizations. 

So I think pushing care to more virtual platforms for maintenance will continue. Obviously, critically ill patients are always going to exist. They're always going to need hospital services, but if we can improve the way we maintain the disease, such that we can prevent the decompensations, then we can keep more patients at home where they belong.

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