Oct. 11, 2008 Northwestern Memorial’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is one of seven programs in the country participating in new study aimed at improving the heart’s pumping action and helping to manage congestive heart failure symptoms.
The US PARACHUTE trial tests the effectiveness of placing a small device in the left ventricle, or main pumping chamber of the heart. Northwestern Memorial physicians recently implanted the first study participant with the device; the individual is the sixth person in the United States to undergo the procedure.
Congestive heart failure is a condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to the body’s other organs and has a variety of causes. The US PARACHUTE trial looks at patients whose congestive heart failure was caused by a previous heart attack. Over time the increased workload of the heart can lead to a change called remodeling, which is the enlargement and thinning of the left ventricle. In time this can lead to more severe heart disease.
Many heart failure patients take a combination of drugs to treat heart failure symptoms such as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, however they do not address remodeling which is the underlying cause. “The goal of the study is to return the ventricle to a normal shape, decrease heart failure symptoms and prevent the heart from further deterioration,” said Charles Davidson, MD, principle investigator for the study, chief of the cardiac catheterization lab at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and professor of medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
The study device, developed and manufactured by CardioKinetix of Menlo Park, California, resembles an upside down parachute, is implanted in the left ventricle using a catheter which is inserted via a tube in the participant’s leg artery. This may eliminate the need for open-heart surgery and general anesthesia and may also allow for faster recovery times.
Congestive heart failure affects approximately 5.3 million people in the United States. Symptoms of heart failure diminish an individual’s quality of life. “Our hope is that the device is may be able to improve each patient’s quality of life and longevity,” commented Dr. Davidson.
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