A mesh jacket positioned around the heart improves function in patients with advanced heart failure. Researchers at the University of New York felt that in heart failure, the heart enlarges and is unable to effectively pump blood around the body. Commonly, the heart valves are damaged too. Heart failure is a progressive condition, with no cure other than a transplant - although it can be managed with medication.
However, a new cardiac support device (CSD) being studied at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and elsewhere may provide new hope for these patients. The device consists of a small jacket made of polyester fibre, which is placed around the failing heart and encourages it back into a normal shape.
In animal research and limited human studies, the CSD could prevent heart enlargement, decrease leakage of the heart valves and improve, or at least preserve, heart function. The CSD promotes recovery of heart muscle, by giving the cells and opportunity to relax. A nationwide trial of the CSD is now underway, involving a group of 120 patients.