Heart failure patient at Advocate Sherman Hospital receives first mini device implant in Illinois

Heart failure patients who have exhausted traditional treatments like prescription medications or pacemakers have a new option for care with an advanced implantable device that strengthens heartbeats.

Dr. Harshal Sheth, a cardiac electrophysiology physician at Advocate Sherman Hospital, successfully implanted the first Optimizer Smart Mini device in the state of Illinois on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023.

The Optimizer Smart Mini, an FDA-approved minimally invasive implantable device, uses cardiac contractility modulation (CCM) therapy which delivers precisely timed electrical pulses to strengthen heartbeats, resulting in more oxygen-rich blood for the body.

"With CCM therapy, we are trying to make an impact on a cellular level to try to make the heart stronger so we can improve the patient's symptoms and their overall quality of life," explained Dr. Sheth.

According to the CDC, 6.2 million adults in the United States have heart failure. Patients with heart failure often experience a variety of symptoms that impact their quality of life including shortness of breath, loss of energy and inability to sleep well. These symptoms keep them from doing the things they love, and treatments like the Optimizer Smart Mini help get them back to their normal activities.

"The mini version is nice because it is smaller; when implanting a device in a patient smaller is always better," said Dr. Sheth. "The battery is longer than the original and can last up to twenty years. It also offers remote heart failure diagnostics monitoring which will soon be enabled. So instead of the patients having to come into the office to see if it's working, we'll be able to see how the device is functioning and how patients are doing objectively from a heart failure standpoint remotely in real-time."

This therapy is different than traditional heart failure treatments because it can potentially strengthen heartbeats.

Prescription medications may slow the progression of heart failure and manage symptoms, but they also may lose their effectiveness over time. Certain patients benefit from traditional pacemakers to help improve performance but for many others for whom this is not an option, the therapy may be an excellent alternative treatment.

Cardiac contractility modulation therapy has been used to treat heart failure patients since 2019. However, the new mini version of this device offers several advancements which improve its usability and convenience.

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