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Tiny Shunt Device Alleviates Heart Failure Symptoms

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 04 Sep 2023
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Image: The novel investigational device is designed to relieve pressure in the left side of heart (Photo courtesy of Freepik)
Image: The novel investigational device is designed to relieve pressure in the left side of heart (Photo courtesy of Freepik)

Heart failure ranks as the leading cause of hospital admissions worldwide. This chronic ailment occurs when the heart muscle functions inefficiently. Among heart failure cases, about half fall under heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), characterized by stiffening of the heart muscle, impairing proper relaxation and filling. This progression often leads to symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling in the legs and ankles, and exercise challenges. Now, a novel investigational device relieves pressure in the left side of the heart, thereby reducing symptoms of heart failure such as shortness of breath.

Atrial fibrillation and a leaky mitral valve are frequently observed in heart failure patients. When conventional approaches like medications and lifestyle adjustments fall short, corrective procedures may be necessary that require the interatrial septum for the catheter’s entry. The Apture transcatheter shunt system from Edwards Lifesciences (Irvine, CA, USA) offers an innovative solution to offload the left side of the heart while preserving the septum for future interventions. During the procedure, doctors insert a catheter through a neck vein, providing access to the heart. The tiny shunt device is implanted between the coronary sinus vein and the left atrium. This placement maintains the interatrial septum, the wall dividing the upper chambers of the heart. Following the successful implantation of the device in an early feasibility study in April 2022, researchers have now enrolled the world's first patient in a clinical trial to assess its effectiveness. The trial, known as ALT-FLOW II, is a randomized, double-blind study that will involve a total of 100 patients across 30 investigational sites.

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