April 3, 2007 — Cardiovascular Associates, Kingsport, TN, has announced it is studying a medical device in patients to measure the potential health benefits of a new implantable pulse generator called the Optimizer. Developed by Impulse Dynamics, the Optimizer delivers electrical impulses to the heart for patients who suffer from moderate-to-severe heart failure.
"Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a major health problem in the US and world wide,” said Gregory Jones, M.D., principal investigator of the study. “Despite significant improvement in mortality and symptoms from heart failure with pharmacologic treatment, many patients remain incapacitated by their CHF. This therapy is a novel treatment using electrical stimuli delivered to the heart in an effort to improve contractility (forcefulness of the heart beat). This in turn can hopefully improve the functional capacity of the patient and reduce some of their symptoms."
No other devices currently provide the same effect as the Optimizer. Pacemakers work to re-establish a normal heart rate through the administration of electrical pacing signals. Defibrillators work to stop abnormal rhythms in a heart that is beating chaotically or too fast by delivering an electric shock. While these devices intend to resolve problems with the heart's rhythm, the Optimizer System is designed to modulate the strength of contraction of the heart muscle rather than its rhythm.
Cardiac Contractility Modulation, or CCM, is a method for treating failing hearts. Unlike signals generated by other cardiac devices, the CCM signals do not initiate a heartbeat. Rather, CCM signals are intended to modify heart cell function in a manner that affects the contractility of the heart muscle.