Cape Coral Hospital Improves Quality of Life for Heart Failure PatientsHealth Hub
Lee Health’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of patients by using the latest medical technology recently notched another success. In March, Cape Coral Hospital became the first hospital in Lee County to debut a new heart treatment for patients with advanced heart failure.
“The innovative procedure offers significant relief to patients with heart failure who haven’t had success with other proven treatment options,” says board-certified cardiologist Dr. Rolando Rodriguez with Lee Physician Group. “It’s a minimally invasive procedure that can be done as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. In fact, patients typically return home the same day of the procedure.”
Meet the Barostim Neo System
What’s changing the game for the management of some patients with heart failure? It’s the Barostim Neo System.
Dr. Rodriguez says it’s a pacemaker-like device that uses electrical impulses to stimulate the nerve that regulates blood pressure, which causes the blood vessels to relax. This makes less work for the heart, he explains.
“The Barostim device actually tells, or signals, the heart to relax by lowering what’s called the sympathetic activity to the heart,” he says. “More specifically, it uses neuromodulation — the power of the brain and nervous system — to lower the heart rate and blood pressure, which helps the heart work more efficiently. The device targets the nerves around the heart and not the heart itself.”
The Barostim won’t reverse heart failure. But it can improve the quality of life in eligible patients who aren’t ill enough for a heart pump or heart transplant or who don’t improve with heart medication, Dr. Rodriguez adds.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the device in 2019 for patients with systolic heart failure for whom standard treatments haven’t worked or who lack other alternative treatment options.
What is heart failure?
Heart failure happens when the heart fails to pump enough blood and oxygen to support other organs in the body. A chronic, progressive condition, heart failure affects about 6.2 million adults in the United States.
The leading causes of heart failure are diseases that damage the heart, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. People with advanced heart failure often experience symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling in the legs, ankles or feet, and weight gain from retaining fluid.
Patients who are eligible for the Barostim Neo procedure have systolic heart failure, a condition that occurs when the left ventricle of the heart won’t completely contract. This means the heart can’t pump with enough force to push blood into circulation.
How does the Barostim Neo System work?
The minimally invasive procedure typically takes about an hour and a half. That’s all. A vascular surgeon implants the Barostim under the skin below the collarbone, where the electrode literally sits on the patient’s carotid artery.
This delivers electrical impulses to nerves in the neck called baroreceptors, which regulate blood pressure. In people with heart failure, their hearts work harder because the baroreceptors sense poor blood circulation and try to raise it, further straining an already weakened heart. The Barostim Neo System eases the strain on the heart by regulating blood flow while reducing the pulse.
“Patients living with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction may be able to benefit from the procedure,” Dr. Rodriguez says. “This new implantation method helps patients feel better, improves their quality of life, and gets them home sooner from the hospital.”