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New Heart Failure Treatment

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Stephen Brown is in heart failure… meaning his heart can't pump enough blood to the rest of his body.

"Within in the past six months, I had been increasingly fatigued, dizzy occasionally, a little more trouble sleeping, a little more trouble breathing."

The 74-year-old is being fitted with a small device as part of a clinical trial at Mount Sinai hospital. It's designed to stimulate a nerve in his neck and ease those symptoms.

A stimulator the size of a pacemaker is implanted under the skin. A sensor is placed into the heart and an electrode is put around the vagus nerve in the neck. When the sensor detects heart problems, the stimulator sends mild electrical pulses up the vagus nerve to help regulate the heart rate and relieve stress on the cardiac muscle.

"The ability of the heart to squeeze is actually improved. This is an improvement that is sustained not just in the short-term but is sustained out to at least 24 months," says Dr. Vivek Reddy.

"I am generally hoping to prolong my life, buy some time," says Brown.

Patients may start to see their symptoms improve several weeks after undergoing the procedure.

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