An implant can now detect heart failure event, researchers at Penn State recently revealed.

HeartLogic, a system of sensors added to defibrillator implants, can predict heart failure up to more than a month in advance. The battery-powered device sends an electric shock if a person’s heart stops beating.

HeartLogic was tested on 900 people who suffer from heart failure for one year. Researchers uploaded software that monitors a patient’s heart rate, activity, breathing, heart sounds and electrical activity in the chest to the implant.

The device, which was developed and funded by Boston Scientific, detected 70 percent of heart failure episodes in patients during the study, surpassing researchers’ goal of 40 percent detection. There were some false positives, but they were within a tolerable average, researchers say. Most of the events were predicted more than a month in advance.

The new technology makes monitoring alerts from hundreds of patients “manageable,” says John Boehmer, a cardiologist and a professor of medicine at Penn State College of Medicine.

“This is a new and clinically valuable measure of worsening heart failure, and it combines a number of measures of the physiology and heart failure, much like a doctor will look at a patient,” Boehmer said. “Doctors look at all their signs and symptoms, get some tests, and put it all together and make a decision about how well or ill the patient is. HeartLogic does it similarly.”

HeartLogic can help monitor a person’s condition so heart failure episodes can be avoided.

“It’s like having high blood sugar, if you’re managing diabetes,” says Boehmer. “The doctor doesn’t need to know about every high blood sugar and every high blood sugar doesn’t result in a hospitalization. But you want to treat it before it gets very high and the patient becomes so symptomatic they become ill and end up in the hospital. This is the same concept.”

Researchers says they are now planning a pilot study and trials to test HeartLogic’s safety, physician acceptance and use, and patient outcomes.