Abner McDuffie found out he was suffering from untreated heart failure the hard way, after suffering a mini-stroke that caused temporary numbness on one side of his body and speech difficulties.
The 45-year-old Fort Lauderdale resident says he ignored the early signs of heart disease, like feeling as if he could only walk 10 to 20 feet at a time. At times, it felt like he was drowning.
After the stroke, he found out heart failure was causing fluid build-up in his lungs.
In February 2022, McDuffie received a pacemaker/defibrillator to stabilize his heart rhythm in a procedure performed by Ahmed Osman, M.D., medical director of electrophysiology at Broward Health Medical Center.
Then, in June 2022, Yordanka Reyna, M.D., medical director for Broward Health Medical Center’s Heart Failure Program, began using a CardioMEMS device to monitor his pulmonary artery pressure, an early indicator of worsening heart failure.
CardioMEMs is a quarter-sized implanted device that works with a special pillow that patients lie on for one minute every day. Data is transmitted to the doctor, who can identify problems much earlier.
“CardioMEMS is one of the tools we use to customize our patient’s treatment,” Dr. Reyna said. “We can make small adjustments in medications to make patients feel better, live longer and reduce hospital admission rates by more than 50%.”
McDuffie said he feels much better these days and that he got amazing care at Broward Health. He advises people with heart disease to see their doctor and listen to them. “Walk, watch your diet, and leave cigarettes and alcohol alone,” he concluded.