New implantable device helps ease heart failure symptoms

For the past few years something as simple as going for a walk with husband Ed has been a struggle for Margaret Chappell.

“I was out of breath doing almost anything,” Chappell said. “Just getting dressed, I would be out of breath.”

Vinings, Ga. A 71-year-old man here is living with congestive heart failure.

She was in her thirties, working as an OR nurse, when she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, or thickening of the heart muscle.

“I was really tired,” Margaret Chappell said. “I mean, I’ll take a nap and then get up and take another nap.” (FOX 5 Atlanta)

“I was really tired,” Chappell said. “I mean, I’ll take a nap and then get up and take another nap.”

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For years, Chappell managed her symptoms with medication.

But, about 4 years ago, she said she started feeling weak and having trouble breathing again.

“Most of the time, I don’t get blood to the brain and I pass out,” she said. “Then all of a sudden I woke up, and I was like, ‘What happened?'”

Chappell’s mobile IV pump that delivers a continuous supply of milrinone, a drug for advanced heart failure. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

So, Chappell switched to an IV pump that delivered a continuous supply of milrinone, a drug for advanced heart failure.

But wherever she went, she would take it.

“To get up and go to the bathroom, I had to take it with me,” Chappelle said. “To walk around the room, I had to take it with me. And, I kind of got the idea of ​​how a dog felt on a leash, you know?”

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And, there was another problem.

Dr. Arun Krishnamurthy spoke with the FOX 5 medical team. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

Dr. Arun Krishnamurthy, a cardiologist with advanced heart disease at Piedmont Heart Institute in Chappell, said milrinone is a short-term treatment.

“The way I describe that drug to patients is, if your heart is a car, it’s only going 10 to 15 miles per hour,” Dr. Krishnamurthy said. Krishnamurthy said. “This drug makes a car go 100 miles an hour, which is great in the short term. But, if you drive a car 100 miles an hour every time, you know what’s going to happen to that car? It’s going to go. Mechanical failure.”

Last spring, after 10 months at the pump, Dr. Krishnamurthy recommends a new pacemaker-like device for heart failure patients who have run out of treatment options: the barostim implant.

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Barostim implant, a pacemaker-like device for heart patients who have run out of treatment options.

The device sends electrical pulses to sensors in the wall of the carotid artery in the neck that measure blood flow.

It is designed to reset or balance the body’s natural blood flow regulation system, relax Chappell’s arteries, slow her heart rate, relieve the shortness of breath and fatigue she is experiencing.

And, it helps, no strings attached.

Dr. “We were thankfully able to use this device to get her off that IV medication and give her a little more independence,” Krishnamurthy said.

Margaret Chappell said she still has heart problems, but is feeling better

“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Chappelle said. “You know, it really made a difference.”

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