It looks like an MP3 player, but the CardioFit device isn’t meant for entertainment. This Israeli innovation from BioControl Medical, now being tested on 200 patients at 50 US medical centers, is an implantable electrical stimulation device designed to improve cardiac function in patients with congestive heart failure (HF).
With heart disease ranked as the world’s top killer, BioControl is looking at a potential market worth $4 billion. The device represents a new and unique source of hope for millions of HF patients.
CEO Ehud Cohen explains that CardioFit addresses an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system’s sympathetic and parasympathetic branches, which regulate heart muscle activity.
“If the ‘gas pedal’ is making the car go too fast, drugs can treat this — like lifting the foot from the pedal just the right amount,” Cohen tells ISRAEL21c. “But the ‘brake pedal’ cannot be treated, and that is what we do.”
CardioFit stimulates the vagus nerve to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. That, in turn, alleviates HF symptoms and reverses deterioration by triggering healing mechanisms in the heart muscle.
Dr. Gregory Ewald, who is overseeing participants in the study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said CardioFit is an entirely new approach for treating congestive heart failure.
“We’ve long known that an early marker of HF is an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system and that this imbalance contributes to HF morbidity and mortality, but we’ve only been able to treat one side of the problem using prescription medications,” Ewald said. “If the study of the CardioFit proves successful, this may be key to understanding how to treat and prevent the progression of HF.”
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Photo by BioControl Medical