A new implant device is bringing cutting-edge care to patients with heart failure.
BAROSTIM NEO is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved device that uses a novel mechanism to improve heart function. This pacemaker-like device is designed to electrically activate the baroreflex, the body’s main cardiovascular reflex, which signals the brain to regulate heart function. It is unique, in that, the device targets the nerves around the heart and not the heart itself.
BAROSTIM therapy activates baroreceptors in the wall of the carotid artery and stimulates pathways of the autonomic nervous system. The brain responds to the therapy by modulating efferent pathways to relax blood vessels, slow the heart rate and reduce fluid in the body via improved kidney function.
Marshfield Clinic Health System recently became the first Health System in Wisconsin and only the second in the Midwest to implant what is deemed as the world’s first neuromodulation device for heart failure treatment.
“We are committed to improve outcomes in heart failure patients,” Kumar said. “This is a prevalent condition in our community. Keeping patients independent, free from symptoms and away from hospitals is a win for both patients and our department.”
Designed to address a significant unmet medical need in heart failure, the BAROSTIM NEO was one of the first therapies to receive the FDA’s coveted Breakthrough Device Designation. This distinction is reserved for unique therapies intended to treat a life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating disease where there is no available treatment alternative.
“We often have patients who are very symptomatic with fatigue, shortness of breath and tiredness despite being on all heart failure medications,” Kumar said. “For these patients our hands were tied until now. This device is an additional therapy for select patients who continue to have symptoms despite optimal therapy.”
Kumar says he expects other health systems to likely be adding this therapy soon.
The placement of the BAROSTIM NEO requires a minimally-invasive procedure under general anesthesia and can be done in an electrophysiology laboratory or catheterization lab as an outpatient procedure. Patients are usually discharged the same day or the next day. Physiological effects include lower heart rate and lower blood pressure.
Weis is grateful to be able to offer this type of treatment to patients at Marshfield Clinic Health System. “I believe this therapy will help many of our heart failure patients achieve an improved quality of life,” she said.