Cooper University Health Care performs region’s 1st implant of heart failure device that uses neuromodulation

Neuromodulation is technology that acts directly upon nerves. It is the alteration — or modulation — of nerve activity by delivering electrical or pharmaceutical agents directly to a target area.

Cooper University Health Care in Camden recently performed the region’s first successful implant of Barostim Baroreflex Activation Therapy, the world’s first FDA-approved heart failure device to use neuromodulation to improve the symptoms of patients with systolic heart failure.

This therapy was designed to treat heart failure patients who may not be receiving adequate symptom relief from medications alone.

The procedure was performed on Robert Granmkowski, a 67-year-old patient of Dr. Ketan Gala, clinical cardiologist and medical director of the advanced heart failure program at Cooper, and member provider of Cooper and Inspira Cardiac Care. Dr. Joseph Lombardi, head of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, performed the procedure.

Unlike other heart failure device therapies, Barostim contains no hardware in the heart or vascular system. It works by electrically stimulating baroreceptors — natural sensors located in the wall of the carotid artery — that tell the nervous system how to regulate heart, kidney and vascular function.

The stimulated baroreceptors help reduce the heart’s workload and help it pump more efficiently, helping to restore balance to the autonomic nervous system and improve the symptoms of heart failure.

Studies have shown that Barostim plus heart failure medications improve exercise capacity, quality of life and New York Heart Association classification of heart failure, helping patients return to their daily activities.

“Not only are we proud to be offering Barostim at Cooper, but we are excited to be the first hospital in the South Jersey and Philadelphia area to make this cutting-edge treatment option available for heart failure patients,” Gala said. “Barostim has the capability to help reduce heart failure symptoms and improve quality of life. This device offers something for patients who otherwise have limited options, or in some case have no other options. They aren’t just living now but enjoying life. When it comes to heart care, the goal of Cooper and Inspira cardiac care is work with our vascular experts and other providers to bring the most advanced care to the region.”