ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Albany Medical Center has successfully implanted the world’s first Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved heart failure device to treat patients diagnosed with chronic heart failure. The device treats patients with symptoms of heart failure, including shortness of breath, fatigue and decreased tolerance for exercise, who have had little to no success with other proven treatment options.

Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen. The ‘Barostim Baroreflex Activation Therapy’ is a neuromodulation implant device that uses electrical pulses to stimulate the heart’s blood pressure sensors through an electrode that lies on the patient’s carotid artery in the neck.

The electrical impulses sent from the neuromodulation device inform the brain of the heart’s condition. it enables the brain to improve the function of the heart by relaxing the blood vessels, thereby slowing the heart rate. Over time, the heart regains strength, lessening the symptoms of heart failure, to enable patients to return to normal activity.

Without effective treatment, most people with heart failure die within five years of being diagnosed, according to doctors. Patients also experience a poor quality of life.

Barostim was created by Minneapolis-based medtech company CVRx, and received FDA PMA approval in 2019. It is now commercially available to reduce the symptoms of heart failure for patients who do not meet the criteria for use of a pacemaker and have a left heart ventricular ejection fraction of 35% or less.

“This unique technology is customizable to meet each patient’s individual therapy needs and offers the potential to improve quality of life and reduce health risks associated with heart failure, including heart and kidney disease, stroke, and death,” said R. Clement Darling, III, MD, chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery. “We are proud to bring heart failure patients in our region this life-changing therapy.”