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Medical Breakthroughs: Barostim implant procedure to prevent heart failure

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Millions suffer from heart failure every year.

For many, if medication doesn't work, the only option left is a heart transplant. Now, a new device is sparking life into failing hearts.

One in 20 adults has heart disease and one person dies every 33 seconds from it. It's the leading cause of death for both men and women.

"When you have weak heart muscles, you can either die because of progressive heart muscle dysfunction or because of sudden death," Cardiologist Richard Jantz said.

Treatments include medication, stents, bypass surgery and pacemakers. But now, there's a new way to keep hearts beating.

"Barostim, which is a novel approach to modulate the autonomic nervous system," Jantz said.

Used in combination with heart failure medication, Jantz implants the Barostim device just under the skin.

"It stimulates the carotid sinus, and it tends to modulate the adrenaline levels and the vagal tone," Jantz said.

Baroreceptors are responsible for telling the nervous system how to regulate heart, kidney, and vascular function. By activating proper regulation of these functions, the workload on the heart is reduced, helping it to pump more effectively.

"It improves your quality of life and your functional capacity, reduce your risk for hospitalization, but it also improves the likelihood that you would not require a heart transplant or a ventricular assist device," Jantz said.

The Barostim procedure is an outpatient procedure and is FDA approved. Now, new studies are being done to implant the wires without any incisions.

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