Heart1.com: Great Information, Real Community, Better Living.
 Main Page
 Heart News
Feature Story
 Education Center
 Heart Attack Center
Dr. Tod Engelhardt  Heart

Dr. Tod Engelhardt:
Combating Major Blood Clots.
About Heroes
 Join the Discussion  in  Our Forums
Heart1 Forums
Patient Stories
Online Resources
Video Library
Search the Body1 Network
April 22, 2021  
HEART NEWS: Feature Story

  • Print this Article
  • Email this Article
  • Links/Reprints
  • New Device Helps Reshape Damaged Hearts

    New Device Helps Reshape Damaged Hearts

    March 12, 2004

    DALLAS (AP) - After five heart attacks and a stroke, Charles Neal's heart was so worn out that he couldn't walk across a room without feeling exhausted and short of breath.

    Constant fatigue caused by congestive heart failure eventually forced the 72-year-old business owner into early retirement.

    "I used to go to work everyday, go on trips, but that quit two years ago, I couldn't stand up to it," said Neal, who owns of an underground fuel tank storage company in Arlington.

    That all changed a few months ago when Neal underwent surgical ventricular restoration to have his enlarged left ventricle reshaped.

    Using a new device called a Mannequin, doctors restored his round-shaped ventricle to its original oval-shape, allowing the heart to pump more efficiently.

    The device - a plastic shaper - is a new approach to an old procedure that's been around for more than 20 years. What's different is that the shaper has now made ventricular restoration a standardized procedure for treating congestive heart failure.

    "This is the only device to do this operation," said Dr. John Conte, the director of heart and lung transplants at John Hopkins University in Baltimore. "It allows a doctor anywhere in the world to do it the same fashion."

    More than 5 million Americans suffer from congestive heart failure, and about 1,000 people die each day from the condition, typically seen in older people.

    The disease develops when the heart is not pumping they way it should, causing the heart to work harder. This happens when the heart has been damaged or weakened by either clogged arteries, high blood pressure or a heart attack, causing the left ventricle to become enlarged.

    Patients usually experience a range of symptoms, including shortness of breath, fatigue, persistent coughing or wheezing, and increased or irregular heart beat.

    Doctors often treat the problem with medicine. Heart transplants also are an option but most heart patients are too old and too sick to withstand the surgery. Also, only 20 percent of people on the waiting list ever receive a heart.

    Ventricular restoration appears to be a better treatment because it gets at the cause of their symptoms, can improve quality of life and perhaps help patients to live longer, doctors said.

    During a two-hour surgery, the shaper is inserted into the left ventricle and then the heart wall is stretched around the device. Once the heart is molded to the right shape and inflated to the right volume, the device is deflated and removed. A patch is sewn onto the heart to maintain the shape.

    So far, more than 700 patients in the United States have had the procedure since the FDA approved it two years ago. The procedure costs about $22,000 to $35,000 and is covered by Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance, said Bert Davis, president and chief executive of Chase Medical, a company based in suburban Dallas that manufacturers the device.

    The procedure was pioneered by doctors in Italy, where heart transplants are not available. John Hopkins is the only training institution in the United States, but many have American doctors received training in Italy.

    Dr. Paul Grayburn, Neal's cardiologist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, said his hospital has done the procedure more than 25 times and with good results.

    Neal, who had severely depressed heart function, is now walking 25 minutes on a treadmill without feeling exhausted and looks great, Grayburn said. "I think it also holds out promise for other patients," he said.

    Ventricular restoration was first introduced as a way to treat ventricular aneurysms - a swelling of the heart. By the 1980s, doctors began using the procedure to treat congestive heart failure but "before the Mannequin, doctors had to do it by eyeball," Davis said. That meant some ventricles were made too small, too large or too spherical.

    In 1999, Chase Medical began collaborating with Italian doctors to develop a device to help them achieve more precise and consistent results. The new device eliminates surgical guesswork when recreating the heart's original size, shape and muscle, Davis said.

    Even though the surgery was risky for Neal because of his age and severe heart condition, he said it has allowed him to return to his once active lifestyle.

    "The worst thing was I could die on the operating table, but I had reached a point in my life that I was so miserable, I would take any chance for quality of life," said Neal, a divorcee with three grown children.

    He had the surgery along with six heart bypasses on his birthday, Nov. 6. It was the best present ever, he said.

    "I can't tell you how great I feel," he said.

    Last updated: 12-Mar-04


  • Add Comment
    Interact on Heart1

    Discuss this topic with others.
    Feature Archives

    Heart Disease Patients Need to Exercise to Benefit from the Protective Effects of Wine

    Effective Treatment for Heart Failure Possible Following Discovery of Heart Molecule

    Significant Decrease in Heart Disease after Prison Smoking Bans

    Heart Failure Patients Who Sleep Poorly Are at Double the Risk for Hospitalization

    Long-Term Survival Possible for Pediatric Heart Transplant Patients

    Next 5 Features ...

    More Features ...
    Related Multimedia

    Plaques/fatty deposits as a cause for a heart attack

    The risk of cardiac death due to a lower ejection fraction

    The function of a defibrillator

    More Features ...
    Related Content
    Investigators Question Ephedra Complaints

    Combination Pill May Reduce Heart Attacks

    Chaotic Heartbeats Seen in Winter

    Ibuprofen Could Be Bad for Heart Patients

    Meditation Impacts Teen Blood Pressure

    More Features ...
    Home About Us Press Jobs Advertise With Us Contact Us
    © 2021 Body1 All rights reserved.
    Disclaimer: The information provided within this website is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for consultation with your physician or healthcare provider. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Owners and Sponsors of this site. By using this site you agree to indemnify, and hold the Owners and Sponsors harmless, from any disputes arising from content posted here-in.