Rob's Story- Cardiomyopathy

Dr. Robert Wilkins likens his CardioMEMS™ pulmonary artery pressure monitoring system to having an EZPass tag implanted in his heart. But instead of breezing through a toll booth, he lies down for a few minutes each day on a special pillow that reads and sends data from the device to his care team at Virginia Heart.

By remotely monitoring Dr. Wilkins’ heart with the CardioMEMS™ system, Virginia Heart’s Dr. Timothy Welch, nurse practitioner Eve Mogadam and registered nurse Elana Zwack have been able to make adjustments to Dr. Wilkins’ heart failure treatment plan in real time without the need for office appointments—or even worse, trips to the emergency room and costly hospitalizations.

Dr. Wilkins had been there, done that.

A couple of years ago, he experienced severe swelling in his leg while on a transatlantic flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Dulles. Knowing that something wasn’t right, he went straight to the emergency room after he landed. Within 30 minutes, he was in septic shock and went into acute renal failure. This resulted in severe cardiomyopathy and multiple ensuing hospitalizations to address recurring heart and kidney failure.

But since Dr. Joseph Kiernan of Virginia Heart implanted a CardioMEMS™ device in Dr. Wilkins last  February, he has not required any hospitalizations and is able to exercise confidently again. “My quality of life has been restored,” Dr. Wilkins said.

“The Virginia Heart team is truly a team,” he added. “They are a network of enormously talented people who work together to provide services that really show their commitment to care.”

That’s high praise coming from someone who is himself a highly trained physician who specialized in anesthesiology and who ran intensive care units for many years prior to his retirement from active medical practice. “As a patient, I know it is better to practice preventative medicine. And I think the team at Virginia Heart realizes they are giving better care to their patients because of it,” Dr. Wilkins said. “It is a win-win for everyone.”