Los Angeles, CA – “Rather than timing the heartbeat as in a pacemaker, the new device improves the pumping ability of the heart to improve ‘cardiac contractility’ which is the squeezing action of the heart as it pumps blood,” says Dr. Ernst von Schwarz.
Over 6 million Americans suffer from heart failure, a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. The leading causes of heart failure are diseases that damage the heart such as calcification of arteries, high blood pressure, diabetes but also virus-induced inflammation of the heart muscle.
A 79-year-old woman recently became the first patient in California to receive the new “Optimizer Smart” system designed for patients with chronic moderate-to-severe heart failure. Dr. von Schwarz performed the implantation procedure. The device benefits patients with chronic, moderate-to-severe heart failure.
“The FDA recently granted the Optimizer a ‘Breakthrough Device’ designation because it treats a life-threatening disease and addresses an unmet medical need in heart failure patients in addition to standard therapy since heart failure is a chronically progressive incurable disease leading to recurrent decompensations, hospital admissions, multi-organ failure and death,” says Dr. von Schwarz.
The system includes the implantable stimulation device which is similar in size to a pacemaker and an external charging station. The device is implanted in a small pocket made under the skin of the upper chest, along with pacemaker leads that are placed in the heart’s ventricular septum, performed while the patient is under light sedation.
After implantation, Dr. Von Schwarz programmed and activated the device, which sends electrical pulses to the heart muscle for a total of five to seven hours a day, in one-hour treatments separated by regular intervals. The patient charges the device for one hour per week using the external charger. The Optimizer device is expected to last for at least 15 years before requiring replacement. Link to video: https://youtu.be/EhXYlW9JGMY
Professor Dr. Ernst von Schwarz, MD, PHD, FESC, FACC, is one of the most published cardiologists in the world. He is a board-certified Clinical and Academic Cardiologist, Director, Southern California Hospital Heart Institute and Professor of Medicine at several academic institutions worldwide, and Clinical Professor at UCLA and UC Riverside.
Dr. von Schwarz is considered a worldwide pioneer in the field of stem cell research. He has published over 150 scientific papers in international peer-reviewed journals as well as several books and book chapters in Medicine. Dr. von Schwarz is a prolific speaker lecturing worldwide at International scientific conferences including American Heart Association, American College Of Cardiology, European Society Of Cardiology and more.
Dr. von Schwarz practices in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Temecula, CA.
This article is part of the Ask Dr. von Schwarz series of medical news stories, expert comments and health & medical updates.