New device may help repair damaged hearts

6:54 PM, Dec 10, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S. and heart failure is one of the biggest burdens on healthcare.  While pacemakers and medications are available, they don't work for everyone.

MetroHealth Medical Center is testing a new device called CardioFit, that stimulates the vagus nerve to regulate and, perhaps, even improve heart function.

"It prevents the further decomposition of the heart and actually has been shown to reverse some of the heart failure damage," says Paul Budny, of BioControl Medical, the company that makes the device.

"It will sense when the heartbeat is and deliver the stimulus at the appropriate time during the cardiac cycle for a certain amount of time and then we let the heart rest," says Dr. Mark Dunlap, of MetroHealth Medical Center.

The vagus nerve goes throughout the body but in the heart, Dr. Dunlap says it regulates rhythm and pumping. Every twenty seconds, the device stimulates the nerve.

It's not an immediate fix, but doctors hope that, over time, the heart will improve. They're looking for eight patients to take part in the Inovate trial.

The study is also being done at Cleveland Clinic and Aultman Hospital. Study candidates must have heart failure that is not responding to traditional treatment, but otherwise are in good health.












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