Heart failure

Albany Med launches breakthrough treatment for heart failure

ALBANY – Doctors at the Albany Medial Center have successfully implanted a breakthrough heart failure device recently approved by the FDA, designed to treat patients who have not been successful with other treatment options.

Albany Med is the second institution to perform the procedure in New York City.

Barostim Baroreflex activation therapy consists of an implanted device that uses electrical impulses to stimulate blood pressure sensors in the heart through an electrode that sits on the patient’s carotid artery in the neck.

Unlike other heart failure treatment options, the device does not touch the heart. The electrical impulses sent by the device inform the brain of the state of the heart, allowing the brain to improve heart function by relaxing blood vessels, thereby slowing the heart rate. Over time, the heart will regain its strength, easing symptoms of heart failure, allowing patients to resume normal activity, Albany Med said in a statement.

“This unique technology is customizable to meet the individual treatment needs of each patient and offers the potential to improve quality of life and reduce health risks associated with heart failure, including heart and kidney disease, strokes and death,” said Dr. R. Clement Darling. III, head of the division of vascular surgery and who performed the procedure, in a statement. “We are proud to offer heart failure patients in our region this life-changing therapy.”

Heart failure is a chronic, progressive disease in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Without effective treatment, people with heart failure tend to have a poor quality of life and die within five years of diagnosis.

Candidates for the Barostim procedure are patients who have symptoms of heart failure, including shortness of breath, fatigue, and decreased exercise tolerance, and who meet other criteria.

Barostim, created by Minneapolis-based company CVRx, received premarketing approval from the FDA in 2019 and is now commercially available to reduce symptoms of heart failure in eligible patients.