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'It gives us a daily peace of mind'; MS couple thankful for new technology, allowing daily heart monitors at home

Device used for more than Baptist patients with serious heart challenges showing results, improving the lives of their families.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — As COVID challenges continue in the Mid-South, a new but growing technology is allowing patients with recent heart failure to be monitored more often at home. It's a device the size of a paper clip and helping families manage months after serious hospitalizations.

In the Baptist hospital system, a little more than 100 patients with recent heart failure are monitored with that device, which allows for fewer check ups in person.

That limits potential exposure to COVID patients at hospitals and cuts down on travel time, including Wanda and Frankie Ellis, who live 90 miles from Memphis.

"Last year to now I feel 200% better and I thank the doctors and nurses," Frankie Ellis said.

One year ago, the 72-year-old spent weeks in a Mississippi hospital, with stage four congestive heart failure. Doctors then offered a dire diagnosis to Frankie's wife of 52 years, Wanda.

"They finally told me, 'enjoy the time left', because there was nothing more that they could do," Wanda Ellis said.

But after a transfer to Baptist Memphis' Heart Institute and the placement of a new aortic valve, his medical team equipped Ellis with a new put potentially life saving device.

It's the size of a paper clip and allows for heart readings at home, which are sent directly to the hospital.

"Not only does it measure the pressure in the heart which Frankie has an aortic (issue) that they are monitoring but it will also detect congestive heart failure before he even has symptoms," Wanda Ellis added.

"I think this technology is groundbreaking, I think this is the future of heart failure," Baptist Dr. Dmitri Yaranov added.

Dr. Yaranov said that technology makes Ellis a perfect patient, since he has decades of chronic heart challenges.

"This is our mainstream technology now a days to help patients like Mr. Ellis who do not live in Memphis or even within Memphis to be able to get the care they really need in the midst of pandemic," he added.

As for Ellis, he's active again and said the monitor provides him with a daily peace of mind and a more normal life with his children, grandchildren and newest grandchild.

"It makes me feel better, I can get up and do what I need to do and everything instead of laying in the bed or sitting in the chair all the time," Frankie Ellis said.