May 29 - Diastolic heart failure is responsible for more than half of all cardiac failure. The condition is usually treated with drugs, but now, a new device being tested in the Czech Republic could provide more effective treatment for millions of sufferers. Suzannah Butcher reports.
Responsible for around half of all heart failure, Diastolic Heart Failure - or DHF - can be a debilitating condition. The muscle in the heart is unable to pump sufficient blood through the body, often leaving sufferers with severe breathing difficulties. But an experimental procedure being tested at Homolka Hospital in Prague may one day provide relief for millions of patients. Inserted into the heart, this tiny device is designed to relieve the pressure of excess blood. George Fazio, the CEO of DC Devices, explains. SOUNDBITE (English) DC DEVICES PRESIDENT AND CEO, GEORGE FAZIO, SAYING: "This device is designed to reduce that elevated pressure in the left side of the heart. It is a straightforward implant that the physicians at Homolka will do which will allow the device to quickly and acutely lower the pressure on the left side and offload it into the right hand side." The procedure takes no more than 15 minutes and according to heart failure specialist Doctor Filim Malek, requires little more than a small incision. (SOUNDBITE) (Czech) HEART FAILURE SPECIALIST AT HOMOLKA HOSPITAL, DOCTOR FILIP MALEK, SAYING: "The placement is by catheterisation, without opening the heart. It comes in via a vein into the right atrium and from there, following a so-called transeptal puncture, to establish the communication between the right and left atrium." Diastolic heart failure has a mortality rate that rivals cancer. DC Devices says that its device provides the first effective treatment. The procedure in Prague is just one of many that will need to take place internationally before approval is granted for the device to marketed.