Smart Woman: Cardiofit Heart Device

Published 02/17 2014 05:36PM

Updated 02/17 2014 05:43PM

Heart failure affects more than six million people in the United States. Researchers are testing a new way to relieve the often debilitating symptoms.

74-year old Stephen Brown is being fitted with a small device as part of a clinical trial at Mount Sinai hospital. It's designed to stimulate a nerve in his neck and ease those symptoms.

A stimulator the size of a pacemaker is implanted under the skin. A sensor is placed into the heart and an electrode is put around  the vagus nerve in the neck.  When the sensor detects heart problems, the stimulator sends mild electrical pulses up the vagus nerve to help regulate the heart rate and relieve stress on the cardiac muscle.

The ability of the heart to squeeze is actually improved. This is an improvement that is sustained not just in the short-term but is sustained out to at least 24 months.

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