New device could help patients with congestive heart failure

The number of Americans living with congestive heart failure is on the rise; it’s expected to affect more than eight million people by 2030.

For many of those patients, medications stop working. Now a little device may hold the key to a more active and happier life.

A few months ago, Joe Knox couldn’t take a simple walk due to his congestive heart failure.

“I couldn’t walk from the door of my house to the car without being out of breath,” Knox said.

And Knox isn’t alone. Doctors say many heart failure patients stop responding to medication that helps the heart circulate blood.

Joshua Larned, MD, Medical Director of Heart Failure Services at Holy Cross Hospital explained, “The analogy is when the car can’t drive up the hill, the engine has some damage and it’s the same thing with the heart.”

Knox is taking part in the Beat HF clinical trial at Holy Cross Hospital.

Dr. Larned said, “This clinical trial investigates the use of a device called a barostim stimulation device which the design of it is to help the heart simply relax.”

The barostim is implanted much like a pacemaker but it sits on top of the carotid artery.
“It actually tells the heart to relax by lowering what’s called the sympathetic activity to the heart,” Dr. Larned continued.

So the heart doesn’t have to work as hard. Every two weeks, Joe has the device adjusted.

Knox said, “As the intensity goes up, the benefits go up.”

Dr. Larned says so far, the technology is proving to be safe and well tolerated. Knox says now he can enjoy walking the dog with his husband.

“I’m able to drive myself, go grocery shopping myself, push the cart around. Definitely a lifesaver,” Knox told Ivanhoe.

Giving people living with heart failure a chance at a more active life.

Dr. Larned says the barostim device is not a cure for heart failure but could help patients live a better quality of life. Knox says the only side effects he’s felt so far are mild headaches.

He says that’s worth it due to how much better he feels. For more information on the Beat HF study, please visit www.beathf.com or www.heartfailurestudy.com

Reporter:Channing Frampton
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