News | May 29, 2007

Optimizer Heart Failure Device Implanted at Tennessee Facility

May 30, 2007 — Cardiovascular Associates, Kingsport, TN, has announced the successful implant of a new investigational cardiac medical device called the Optimizer for the treatment of heart failure.

The Optimizer, made by Impulse Dynamics, is an implantable pulse generator that delivers electrical impulses to the heart for patients who suffer from moderate-to-severe heart failure. This procedure was performed at Holston Valley Medical Center, Heart Institute on Wednesday, May 23rd.

"Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a major health problem in the U.S. 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."

There are currently no other devices that 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.

The underlying technology of the device is Cardiac Contractility Modulation, or CCM, 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.

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