Heart device allows local retired teacher to live a normal life

NOW: Heart device allows local retired teacher to live a normal life

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A program at Aurora St Luke's Medical Center is helping people with heart issues live their normal lives, thanks to an FDA-approved device.

Mary Korte, 76, was diagnosed with heart failure in 2013. For years, she had been treated with medication and even had two pacemakers surgically implanted until her CardioMems implant on January 2020.

This device and its machine has been a gamechanger for Korte in recent years. She only uses it once a day in the morning.

"It's very freeing, I'm not afraid to travel, I can go anywhere and know that my dosages will be corrected as needed," she said.

Korte has taken her machine all across the U.S. and even on international trips.

"That reading gets relayed to our computer system so we can see the pulmonary artery pressure readings and if they're outside of Mary's range, then we go ahead and give you a call and make adjustments," said Nurse Practitioner Jodi Burany.

Heart failure can be a dangerous condition, with fluid buildup and other complications often requiring patients to be admitted to the hospital.

Luckily, Korte has not been admitted unexpectedly to the hospital since undergoing this journey with the CardioMems, as her care team is able to monitor her from anywhere around the world, in real-time.

"We were one of the fewer, first centers in the state of Wisconsin to start this and since then...(we're) the 5th largest in the country," said Dr. Nasir Sulemanjee, a cardiothoracic surgeon.

According to Dr. Sulemanjee, the device has caused a 50% reduction in hospital admissions, with close to 1,000 devices administered -- more than any other center around the globe.

"I had rheumatic fever when I was 7 and it all started with that, I've had two spontaneous coronary artery dissections, open-heart surgery and they're keeping me going, and this machine's helping a lot," Korte said.

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