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Banner Heart Hospital tests new device to combat heart failure


Research device may reduce health risks for heart failure patients

MESA, AZ (May 28, 2014) – Banner Heart Hospital is involved in a research study for a device that may reduce the risk of hospitialilzation or even death among patients who have heart failure.

The clinical trial, “Inovate-HF,” tests the safety and effectiveness of the implantable, investigational medical device called CardioFit, which is designed to use the stimulation of the vagal nerve to treat patients with heart failure.

Implanted under the skin of the chest, the CardioFit system from BioControl Medical is designed to deliver low-current electrical pulses to activate fibers of the vagal nerve. This nerve, one of 12 specialized nerves in the brain called cranial nerves, is responsible for many automatic functions of some internal organs, including the heart. The nerve plays a major part in controlling heart rate and blood pressure.

“The positive impact of a device that could reduce symptoms and hospital visits for heart failure patients could be huge, especially considering that about 5.1 million people in the United States have heart failure,” said Dr. Alphonse Ambrosia, DO, cardiologist and lead investigator of the study at Banner Heart Hospital.

The benefit of vagus nerve stimulation has been evaluated in previous clinical studies and has suggested there may be added therapeutic benefit above and beyond traditional therapies for heart failure. The Inovate-HF study is designed to confirm these early findings in a larger patient population, and ultimately to convert them into clinical practice.

As people age, the efficiency of the heart muscle declines, but heart failure results from the added stress of health conditions that either damage the heart or make it work too hard. Lifestyle factors that increase the risk of heart attack and stroke include smoking, being overweight, eating foods high in fat and cholesterol, and physical inactivity, which can contribute to heart failure. More causes of heart failure include hypertension, or high blood pressure; ischemic heart disease, caused by plaque building up along the walls of the arteries of the heart; and valvular disease, any disease process involving one or more of the four valves of the heart.

Banner Heart Hospital is ranked among the Phoenix area’s “Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report. The hospital’s emergency heart services, in conjunction with Banner Baywood Medical Center, received Chest Pain Center accreditation in 2011 and Heart Failure Center accreditation in 2013. Services at Banner Heart Hospital include open heart surgery, vascular care, interventional cardiology, heart failure and heart rhythm treatment, women’s heart care and cardiac rehabilitation. For more information, visit

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