A Tent That Can Save Your Ticker
Reported March 2011
NEW YORK (Ivanhoe Newswire) --Twenty-six million people have heart failure in the U.S, and today more options are available to treat it than ever before. Here's how doctors are using a new concept to help heart failure patients run that extra mile.
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For Hector Valentin slowing down is not an option and getting on track means spending time on the track.
"Exercising is tiring and fatiguing but later you feel good for doing it and going through, breaking through the physical thresholds you might have," Hector Valentin, Heart problem patient, told Ivanhoe.
But when he was diagnosed with a heart problem six years ago - stopping - became part of his routine.
"The ability to take a good deep breath is inhibited, you really can't get in there to feel that satisfying inhalation," Valentin said.
Cardiologist, Dr. Simon Maybaum at Montefiore medical center is helping heart failure patients get moving by using this high altitude simulator tent.
"We know that when we climb to altitude, the body makes certain adaptations that we call acclimatization in order to make delivery of oxygen to the tissues of the muscles more efficient," Simon Maybaum, M.D., Cardiologist, Medical Director at Montefiore center for advanced cardiac therapy, in New York, told Ivanhoe.
Patients sit in this tent for four hours during 10 sessions over 22 days. A machine adjusts the tent slowly and filters oxygen molecules from the air to mimic the oxygen level at an altitude of 15-hundred meters in the first session. By the 10th session, the patient is breathing oxygen as if they were at an altitude of 27-hundred meters or 1.7 miles - that's as high as seven empire state buildings.
"This particular strategy is one that is described by the athletic community as the non-doping strategy, in other words it is the soul remaining exercise enhancing technique that is still kosher as far as the athleticism is concerned," Dr. Maybaum said.
Athletes who follow this 'live high train low' concept usually experience increased blood and tissue oxygenation and benefit from improved ventilation, strong cardiac muscle performance and boost in physical performance. Changes that could mean a new life for patients like Valentin.
"You can go without water for a couple of days but you can't go without oxygen for a long time," Valentin concluded.
Eight people who completed this protocol have seen improvements in the ability to exercise and improvements in the quality of life. The ultimate goal is to have patients take the experience home with them by having a tent of their own.
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