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Vol. 17  No. 21 Final Edition
Clovis Free Press

Friday March 23, 2001

New Pacemaker Helps Hearts
Device Resynchronizes Both Sides!
By Ellen Fiss,
Tampa General Healthcare

     RUSKIN, Fla -- A new type of pacemaker is being tested on patients to see if it can help struggling hearts beat more normally. Nearly 5 million Americans have congestive heart failure, a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.
     Drugs help many, but patients whose hearts worsen despite medication have few options. "Their hearts not only are weakened, but they're not functioning as efficiently as they could," cardiologist Dr. Stephen Mester said.
     "The walls of the heart, as they contract, are out of sequence with each other." A new device called a biventricular pacemaker resynchronizes the heart so that both sides pump at the same time.
     Unlike a regular pacemaker that uses two wires to deliver electricity to the heart, the new device has three. "We can place a new wire in a place where we've never placed it before -- on the left side of the heart instead of the right," Mester said.
    Dr. Mester told the Clovis Free Press Newspaper the device can improve the heart's pumping efficiency up to 40 percent, but it is not a cure. The new device is not for all congestive heart-failure patients.
     It is only intended for those who have a special electrical system problem called bundle branch block pattern.

    [Editor's Note: For more information on the biventricular pacemaker, contact: Ellen Fiss Public Relations Coordinator Tampa General Healthcare Davis Islands P.O. Box 1289 Tampa, FL 33601-1289 (813) 253-4440 efiss@tgh.org www.tgh.org.]

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