Section: Barnabas Health Heart Center News

Barnabas Health Heart Center at Clara Maass Medical Center First in Essex County to Implant New Heart Failure Monitoring Solution


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, 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, works with CMMC's Inpatient Heart Failure Team to educate 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. "

Joseph, is pictured here (center) with Ms. Stapleton (left) and his wife, Maria. When asked about the procedure he says, "I was back home within a few hours and had no restrictions. Technology is awesome!"

For more information about Barnabas Health Heart Center at Clara Maass Medical Center or for a referral to a Barnabas Health cardiac specialist, visit

The CardioMEMS HF System, from global medical device manufacturer St. Jude Medical, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for commercial use in the U.S. For more information, visit

About Barnabas Health Heart Centers – Life is Better Heart Healthy

From our local cardiologists to our world-class transplant, valve and surgical programs, Barnabas Health has built New Jersey's largest and most comprehensive cardiac care network. But we also offer prevention and wellness programs designed to strengthen and protect those with healthy hearts. All with the hope that they'll never need our extraordinary care in the first place. For more information about the Barnabas Health Heart Centers, visit

About Clara Maass Medical Center

Clara Maass continues to set the standard for delivering quality care, recently receiving its seventh Grade "A" score in Hospital Safety by the Leapfrog Group, making it one of 182 hospitals in the entire nation to achieve an "A" in all seven scores released from the nation's leading experts on patient safety. In 2015, Clara Maass was one of only seven hospitals in New Jersey and one of 494 hospitals nationwide to earn a Patient Safety Excellence Award from Healthgrades. For 2014-15, U.S. News & World Report ranked Clara Maass among the 50 Best Regional Hospitals in the New York Metro Area as a high-performing hospital in Diabetes & Endocrinology and Neurology & Neurosurgery.

In 2014, Clara Maass received the Mission: Lifeline® Bronze Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks. Also in 2014, the Joint Commission awarded Clara Maass its third consecutive distinction as a Top Performing Hospital on Key Quality Measures based on quality and safety demonstrated to patients.

Clara Maass Medical Center earned the two-year Gold Seal of Approval in 2013 from the Joint Commission Disease-Specific Care Certification for Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS), Cardiac Rehabilitation, and Congestive Heart Failure

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