A pioneering operation in Leicester to fit a nerve-stimulating implant in a patient with heart failure has been successful. Similar to a pacemaker, it was fitted to the vagus nerve, part of the nervous system running between the heart and brain down the right side of the neck. Researchers hope this will cut the stress on the heart, reducing swelling and improving quality of life. It has been trialled in 32 European patients, but not in the UK before.
Similar nerve-simulating implants have been trialled in Bristol and Liverpool – but this one is more specific – only targeting signals that go to the heart, and not those that go from the heart to the brain. Prof Jeremy Pearson, from the British Heart Foundation said: “Heart failure affects more than 750,000 people in the UK alone and we need new ways to tackle this often debilitating condition.
“This new procedure could help patients who are responding poorly to current treatment. Via Heart failure implant operation trialled in UK.