Heart Girdle: Preventing Heart Failure
A girdle-shaped device that helps reshape the heart is predicted to become a major new treatment for heart failure.
Around half of the 1 million heart failure patients in Britain suffer from mitral valve regurgitation. This is a condition in which the mitral valve, at the entrance to the heart's main pumping chamber, becomes twisted out of shape.
This allows blood to leak back from the heart toward the lungs with potentially lethal consequences.
Drugs and surgery have been used to treat the condition, but until now, have not always been effective.
However, the new device, which is stitched in place around the heart valve during open-heart surgery, pulls the walls of the mitral valve back into shape.
This means that the flaps that open and close to control the flow of blood fit the shape of the valve again, stopping leakages.
At the same time, the device lifts the whole pumping chamber -- the left ventricle. This changes the size and shape of the heart from an oval shape to a round shape, helping it to contract and pump blood better.
Results from the first 25 patients to have the treatment, which has now been approved for use in Britain, show that all had great improvements after the device was implanted because blood was able to flow through the heart more efficiently with no leakage problems. ...