HealthWatch: Barostim Heals Heart Failure

Health Watch

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — The FDA has just given approval to a first-of-its-kind device for patients with heart failure. The Barostim Neo is designed to use the power of the nervous system to help control blood pressure, and it’s making a world of difference for some patients.

Eric Berkowitz likes to end his workday by taking Bobo for a walk. It’s something he couldn’t do just a few months ago.

“He sat right here in that recliner and never came out of it. He slept in this chair. He could not go up the stairs,” Deborah Berkowitz, Eric’s wife said.

Eleven years ago, at age 42, Berkowitz had a heart attack. Then another. Doctors tried stents, a double bypass and a pacemaker to keep his heart healthy, but he still struggled with heart failure.

Nirav Raval, MD, Thoracic Medical Director at Advent Health Transplant Institute, told Ivanhoe, “Heart failure means the heart’s not really pumping enough blood to supply the needs of the body.”

Doctor Raval studied the effectiveness of the Barostim Neo. It’s implanted just under the skin, and a lead wire delivers pulses to the carotid artery in the neck.

“It kinda just lies over the top stimulating this group of cells called baroreceptors and those change the fight or flight response basically bring balance to it,” Raval said.

And two years ago, doctors implanted a Barostim opposite Berkowitz’s pacemaker. It helps adjust his blood pressure. Berkowitz says even though he feels better than ever Bobo senses he’s been sick and won’t leave his side.

“Since I have the device, I can walk a two-mile track with him and not be panting. He pants more than I do,” Eric Berkowitz said.

New technology and Bobo putting Berkowitz on the path to better health.

The FDA approved Barostim in August, after the conclusion of a phase three clinical trial. The Barostim is for use in patients older than 21 who have advancing symptoms and are not responding to heart failure medication.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.
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REPORT: MB #4682

BACKGROUND: Heart failure is a condition where the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. It is very common; about 5.7 million people in the U.S. have heart failure. In some cases, the heart can’t fill with enough blood, while in other circumstances the heart cannot pump blood to the rest of the body with enough force. Some people in fact, suffer from both these issues. Heart failure is a serious condition that requires medical care. It develops over time, as the heart’s pumping action grows weaker. The condition can affect both sides of the heart, or the right side only. Right-side heart failures occur if the heart can’t pump enough blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen, while left-side heart failures occur if the heart can’t pump enough oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. Right-sided failure may cause fluid to build up around the legs, ankles, feet, abdomen, liver, and veins in the neck. Both may also cause shortness of breath and fatigue. The leading causes of heart failure include diseases that damage the heart, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and ischemic heart disease.

DIAGNOSING/TREATMENT: The tests needed to diagnose heart disease depend on which condition your health care provider believes you may have, but most likely your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about personal and family medical history before any tests. Besides chest X-ray and blood tests, the doctor may require you do go through a stress test, perform a cardiac catheterization test, an echocardiogram or electrocardiogram, or a CT scan or MRI. Treatment will vary by the condition of the patient, but in general heart disease treatment usually includes lifestyle changes and medications if lifestyle change isn’t enough. If these aren’t enough, it’s possible the doctor will recommend surgery or a specific medical procedure, depending on the extent of damage to your heart and which type of heart disease you have.

BAROSTIM NEO: The Barostim Neo System is an implantable pulse generator with carotid sinus lead kit and programmer. It delivers electrical signals to the body’s pressure sensors or baroreceptors in patients with advanced heart failure. The programmer allows medical professionals to control the settings of the device. A doctor implants it under the patient’s skin below the collarbone and programs the device based on the patient’s individual requirements. It is intended to be used on patients 21 years or older who are not responding to other medical therapy, or who are not suited for other forms of treatment, who suffer from advanced symptoms of heart failure. A clinical study evaluated that compared to patients who received only standard medical therapy vs. those that received medical therapy plus the device, the device may improve an individual’s ability to perform daily activities, increase quality of life, and lower levels of a biomarker that measures heart failure.


Jeff Grainger, Public Relations

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

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