What is Barostim?
Barostim is a neuromodulation device that is implanted under the collarbone and attached with thin leads to the carotid artery. It works by stimulating baroreceptors, the natural sensors in your blood vessels that communicate with the nervous system, and restoring balance to the part of your body that naturally regulates the heartbeat. It essentially uses your body’s own reflexes to improve cardiovascular function by helping the heart to pump more efficiently and relieve symptoms of heart failure.
What is the benefit of Barostim?
The purpose of Barostim is to improve the quality of life for people with systolic heart failure. This refers to people who have reduced ejection fractions, which means that the heart isn’t functioning as it should. Blood flows too slowly and doesn’t meet the body’s need for blood and oxygen. Barostim has been shown to reduce heart failure symptoms and improve the quality of life for patients with ejection fractions of 35% or less by significantly decreasing their symptoms.
How does it work?
Unlike other heart failure treatment options, such as a pacemaker or defibrillator, Barostim utilizes an electrode that lies on the patient’s carotid artery, and does not touch the heart. Electrical impulses are sent from the Barostim device to the brain, informing it of the heart’s condition, including blood volume and pressure. In turn, the brain may tell arteries to relax, the heart to slow down, or the kidneys to reduce fluid in the body, all of which help to improve the heart’s function. The goal is to have the heart regain strength over time, lessening the symptoms of heart failure and associated risks, such as kidney disease and stroke.
What happens during the procedure?
Implanting the Barostim device is minimally invasive, and is done under anesthesia in an operating room. The procedure typically takes 45 minutes, and involves a small incision on the right side of the neck and a two-inch incision under the collarbone on the right side. Typically, you will be able to go home within 24 hours of the procedure.
Barostim devices are customizable to meet each individual patient’s needs. Each implanted device communicates with an external device that your physician will use to regulate the activation energy therapy. The Barostim device has an average battery life of five years, and no charging is required. There is no monitoring required by patients.
Am I a candidate for Barostim?
If you have been diagnosed with systolic heart failure and have an ejection fraction of 35% or less, Barostim may be right for you. It has proven to be beneficial for patients who have not received adequate benefits from standard treatments or who have no alternative treatment options.