COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Almost six million Americans are living with heart failure, a condition where the heart can’t pump blood well enough to meet the body’s needs. People with heart failure are exhausted, they can feel weak, have trouble breathing, and can have swollen legs and feet. For the first time in the United States, researchers at Ohio State have successfully used an experimental device designed to treat patients with heart failure that is getting worse, heart stimulation device.
Sixty-six-year-old Robert Dye can’t wait to take his boat out of storage. This is the first time in more than a year he’s had the energy.
“I could not walk any distance. I couldn’t even walk from the bed to my recliner without being short winded,” Robert emphasizes.
One day last fall, Robert couldn’t breathe. He was gray. His limbs were ice cold. At his local hospital, doctors told his wife something terrifying.
“That he was more dead than alive. That was horrible because he’s mine and I didn’t want anything to happen,” Robert’s wife, Susan, expresses.
Robert had worsening heart failure. Doctors thought he would be a good candidate for an experimental cardiac pulmonary nerve stimulation system, or CPNS.
“The device is actually a series of electrodes that deliver electrical stimulus directly to the nerves,” explains Sitaramesh Emani, MD cardiologist at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.
The electrodes sat in a wire basket. Doctors inserted it through a catheter into a vein in Dye’s neck until it reached the artery just behind the heart. The controller was attached to the outside of his neck. For four days, Dye’s doctors delivered stimulation to the nerves on the back of the heart, then removed the device.
Dr. Emani mentions, “We think the heart is beating stronger and better when this therapy is turned on.”
Dye says he felt much better immediately.
“I walked a mile on the hospital floor,” he exclaims.
His wife, Susan, sobs and says, “I wanted to hold his hand because it was warm.”
While Robert Dye was the first in the U.S. to use the CPNS stimulation system, it is also being tested in Europe and South America. It’s important to note that Dr. Emani sits on the Scientific Advisory Board of Cardionomic, the company that manufactured the system.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: FIRST IN THE U.S.: NEW HEART STIMULATION DEVICE
REPORT: MB #5090
BACKGROUND: Heart failure, also called cardiac failure, CHF, or congestive heart failure, is a condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Heart failure doesn’t mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop working, but that a person’s heart is not able to pump blood the way it should. Heart failure can affect one or both sides of the heart. Heart failure is commonly a result of coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, and is most common in people who are 65 years old or older, African Americans, people who are overweight, and people who have had a heart attack. Men have a higher rate of experiencing heart failure than women.
DIAGNOSING: In order to properly diagnose a person for heart failure, a doctor will carefully review a patient’s medical history, review their symptoms and perform a physical examination. A doctor will also check to see if a person has risk factors for heart failure, such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease or diabetes. A doctor may perform a blood test, chest x-rays, electrocardiogram (ECG), stress test, cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), coronary angiogram, or myocardial biopsy to determine if a person has heart failure. Heart failure can be scaled into four main categories. Class one heart failure is defined as having no heart failure symptoms. Class two heart failure means everyday activities can be done without difficulty, but exertion can cause shortness of breath or fatigue.
Class three heart failure can make it difficult to complete everyday activities. Lastly, class four heart failure means that a person will have shortness of breath even at rest as this category includes the most severe heart failure.
A study by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has found a link between heart failure and infertility in women. A woman who has infertility issues has an increased risk of experiencing heart failure. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) revealed that women who had experienced infertility had a 16% increased risk of heart failure compared to women who did not have an infertility history. Among the 38,528 postmenopausal women studied, 14 percent of the participants reported a history of infertility. Over a 15-year follow up period, the researchers recorded that infertility was associated with 16 percent future risk of overall heart failure, and when they examined heart failure subtypes, they found that infertility was associated with a 27 percent increased future risk of HFpEF, a condition where the heart muscle does not relax well.
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