Physicians At St. David’s Medical Center Among First In Nation To Implant Neurostimulator Technology For Advanced Heart Failure

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Doctors at St. David’s Medical Center recently became among the first in the U.S. to implant a new neurostimulator technology to help treat advanced heart failure. The Barostim System is the only technology approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use the nervous system to control heart failure and improve the function of the cardiovascular system.

The system features a programmable device that is placed under the patient’s collarbone and sends electrical pulses to baroreceptors, which detect changes in pressure in the carotid artery. This triggers the baroreflex, the body’s main cardiovascular reflex, causing an autonomic, or involuntary, response to the heart.

“When the device is activated, it sends impulses through an electrode to the receptors in the carotid artery,” Dr. Jeffrey Apple, a vascular surgeon with Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons who performed the procedure at St. David’s Medical Center, said. “This tricks the body into thinking that the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are working correctly. The brain then responds and sends messages to the body that the heart is working properly. This relaxes the blood vessels, slows the heart rate and reduces fluid in the body.”

The therapy is designed to restore balance to the autonomic nervous system and thereby reduce the symptoms of heart failure.

“This approach to heart failure is designed to improve patients’ quality of life, including those who remain symptomatic despite taking medications and have no other device-based therapy options,” Andrea Natale, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.H.R.S., F.E.S.C., cardiac electrophysiologist and executive medical director of the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David’s Medical Center, said. “It allows them to live their everyday lives with fewer limitations.”

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