In this medical video learn how the "heart pod" could allow patients to manage their heart disease in the comfort of their own home, instead of the hospital.
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Jennifer Matthews: Walking down the driveway to get a newspaper doesn't seem like a big deal. But it was for Lonnie Marshall. Lonnie Marshall: Couldn't make it to the mailbox and back without stopping along the way, sucking for air and get in the house. Jennifer Matthews: Lonnie has congestive heart failure. Lonnie Marshall: I can't crawl in and out the truck like I used to. I used to crawl in and out of the trucks all the time. I have a hard time getting out now. Jennifer Matthews: After antibiotics and steroids failed, Lonnie went to see Doctor William Abraham. He prescribed diuretics -- drugs that rid the body of extra fluid. Dr. William Abraham: It turns out that most patients who are developing worsening of their heart failure develop what we call congestion, and that's represented as fluid in the lungs, which makes breathing difficult. Jennifer Matthews: Lonnie became the first American patient to test the heart-pod -- a device that measures fluid. Dr. William Abraham: There's a wire that goes into the heart and a very small can which can be used to extract the information. Jennifer Matthews: The wire and can are surgically implanted. Then, a PDA device reads fluid levels -- telling the patient how much medicine to take. Dr. William Abraham: We can adjust the dose of the patient's water pills to alleviate the congestion before they get into trouble and before they end up in the emergency department or in the hospital. Jennifer Matthews: Lonnie checks his fluid levels twice a day. He says it's easy to do, and his breathing is getting better. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.