According to recent American Heart Association statistics, the number of American adults living with heart failure is on the rise, and is expected to increase from about 6.5 million in 2014 to more than 8 million by 2030. Half of the patients diagnosed with this condition, in which the heart is too weak to pump blood throughout the body, are likely to die within five years of diagnosis. Treatment options to control the symptoms of heart failure – which include fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling and chest pain – currently are limited. But a new option may be available to some patients in the St. Louis area. Mercy has announced a clinical trial of an investigational device called the BAROSTIM NEO® for heart failure at its hospitals in St. Louis and Springfield, Missouri.
The BeAT-HF [Baroreflex Activation Therapy® for Heart Failure] clinical trial will determine if the investigational BAROSTIM NEO implantable device helps patients live longer, reduces heart failure-related hospitalizations, improves quality of life and is safe. The device stimulates special cells in the arteries of the neck called baroreceptors to signal the heart, kidneys and blood vessels, and may improve heart function and reduce heart failure symptoms.
Nancy Evans, 81, of West County, is a heart failure patient currently participating in the trial. After the BAROSTIM NEO device was implanted, Evans, who had been short of breath even with minimal activity, said she feels much better.
“I can walk and talk without getting out of breath,” she said. “I have a different outlook on life. People even tell me I look different; my complexion is better.”
Implantation of the device requires an overnight hospital stay, but patients can go home afterward with few restrictions, according to Dr. Khaled Awad, principal investigator for the trial and an electrophysiologist with Mercy Clinic Heart and Vascular. More information about the heart failure trial in the St. Louis area can be obtained by calling Mercy Research at (314) 251-3920.