New device for congestive heart failure patients

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For people living with congestive heart failure, simple joys like walking the dog become nearly impossible due to shortness of breath, fatigue. Now new technology is changing patients lives for the better.

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

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

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

Dr. Joshua Larned, Medical Director of Heart Failure Services, Holy Cross Hospital, says, “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.” 

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

Dr. Larned continues, “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. 

Dr. Larned adds, “It actually tells the heart to relax by lowering what’s called the sympathetic activity to the heart.” 

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

Joe says, “As the intensity goes up, the benefits go up.” 

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

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

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. 

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