Oklahomans are among the first to test a new device for treating a serious heart condition. Though it's similar to a pacemaker, the new high tech device offers new hope for people with congestive heart failure. Instead of helping the heart beat faster, it helps it beat better.
Several weeks ago, Curtis Peters couldn't have walked down a short hallway without gasping for breath. He's one of millions of Americans suffering from congestive heart failure. "Oh I couldn't do anything," Peters said. "I couldn't walk to the mailbox, and that's only 60 or 70 feet."
Now, new technology offers hope for Peters and other heart patients. Dr. Phillip Adamson and a team of experts at University Hospital in Oklahoma City implanted an experimental device call "InSync" in Peter's chest. Instead of speeding up a sluggish heart, like traditional pacemakers, InSync helps the heart beat more efficiently. "With the three lead system, we put a lead in the top chamber to sense when the heart should beat," Dr. Adamson explained. "We then put a lead into the pumping chamber on the right which goes to the lungs and we put a lead on the left side which pumps blood to the body."
Normally, the lower chambers of the heart beat together. In many patients with heart failure, that rhythm is lost. The lower chambers beat opposite each other, causing the heart to lose up to 40 percent of it's pumping capacity. InSync resynchronizes the right and left ventricles, boosting the heart's pumping power.
"It's an amazing intervention for those patients who essentially have no hope," Dr. Adamson noted. "They are not transplant candidates and they have simply maximized the benefits of medication and still have symptoms. It's a real breakthrough."
Although the device is experimental, the early results look promising and Peters says he's living proof of that. "It's the best thing that ever happened to me," he said.
Doctors at University Hospital in Oklahoma City say InSync could help save millions of lives. If you want more information about the device, call University Hospital's Congestive Heart Failure treatment program at (405) 271-2916.