News Don’t miss a beat: New implant gives heart patients hope – Salisbury Post

Don’t miss a beat: New implant gives heart patients hope

Posted on Thursday, February 2, 2023 at 12:08 am

Brad Dountz and Charlie Drape

CHINA GROVE – A heartbeat can mean the difference between life and death. No matter how important it is, your heart can still be taken for granted to work every day until it suddenly fails. David Rodgers suffered a heart attack in 2006 and he never forgot how precious each day has been since.

The 65-year-old worked in state government before retiring in 2002. He was one of the original organizers of the South Rowan Christmas Parade and serves on the Councilor’s Committee. He also has kidney disease, is diabetic and has been battling heart failure symptoms since his heart attack.

Nearly 6 million people in the United States suffer from heart failure, a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Some of the leading causes of heart failure are diseases that damage the heart, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

In December, Rodgers underwent surgery that doctors hope will alleviate his heart failure symptoms. He had a pacemaker-like Barostim device implanted in the right side of his chest.

According to the FDA, the Barostim device “consists of a pulse generator that is implanted just below the collarbone on the right side of the chest. The generator is connected to a wire that runs to the carotid artery in the neck. Once the device is implanted Once inserted, the doctor programs the device to deliver electrical impulses to baroreceptor cells in the neck, which sense how blood flows through the carotid arteries and relay information to the brain.”

“The baroreceptors are the receptors that are present in the carotid arteries, and basically when they feel extra pressure or stimulation from the heart, they say ‘wait a minute, my blood flow increases a little bit, my pressure increases a little bit, I might It needs to be brought down a bit,” said Dr. Priyesh Patel, the cardiologist who operated on Rogers.

Dr Priyesh Patel

The Barostim device alerts baroreceptors and sends signals to the brain, which in turn sends signals to relax the heart and blood vessels and reduce production of stress-related hormones. By lowering these hormones, you can reduce heart failure symptoms.

“I believe it’s going to help, that’s the main thing. As it says, it beats the heart. Basically, that’s what it does,” Rogers said.

The operation took place on December 15th. It took about an hour, but Rogers stayed overnight.

Atrium Health Cabarrus is just one of two sites in North Carolina offering the procedure, but Patel said other hospitals will soon be able to include the Barostim device as part of their medical options.

“I know almost every center in North Carolina is struggling to get the devices and learn how to use them,” Patel said.

Rogers’ implants start at level one, the lowest setting. Now it’s the third floor. The doctor will gradually raise the level of the implant. This month, it will reach the highest level of eight. Once at peak levels, Rogers will see a doctor every three to six months to make sure everything is normal.

“One of the biggest issues I had was being out of breath, and it’s starting to get better. That’s something the device seems to help a lot. It addresses all the symptoms of heart failure,” Rogers said.

There was a history of heart disease in his mother’s family, leading Rogers to think his own heart disease was hereditary. He emphasized the need for people to be proactive in protecting their heart health before it’s too late.

“People need to be more aware that they need to get their physicals checked and they need to be more careful about what they eat,” Rogers said. “I’m paying attention to what I eat and doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”

But not everyone is eligible for the program. It is only for patients who have exhausted other treatments such as prescription drugs and different therapies. In addition, the patient must have a low cardiac “ejection fraction,” which measures how much blood the heart pumps out with each contraction.

“These are for people with a weak heart, you have to have an ejection fraction of 35 percent or less and have symptoms despite being optimized with all these drugs that we know can help people live longer The longer, the better it feels,” Patel said.

Normal ejection fraction levels are 55-75%, Rogers’ level is 25%. This affected his breathing and knee surgery had to be postponed.

If you’re eligible, talk to a cardiologist about getting surgery, Rogers recommends. Even with the challenges, he never stops being positive and makes every day a blessing.

“I’ve never been depressed about anything I’ve been through inside of me,” Rogers said. “That’s how I see it. The good Lord takes care of you, takes care of you. I’ve always said it, and He brought me here for a reason.”

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