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Israeli device helps weak hearts pump more blood

(Xinhua)

14:54, December 02, 2011

JERUSALEM, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- A recently-invented Israeli medical device promises to help weakened heart muscles pump blood where needed through electrical stimulation, while "training" and strengthening the muscles.

Impulse Dynamics, the firm behind "Optimizer III", developed the device for patients suffering Chronic Congestive Heart disease (CCH), an illness that afflicts some 26 million people around the world, Israel's 21c news site reported on Thursday.

For these patients, normal medical treatment fails to completely alleviate the ailment's common symptoms of shortness of breath and weakness, since their heart muscles are too weak to efficiently pump blood.

When implanted via a minor procedure, the pacemaker-sized device helps pump the blood while making the heart muscles exercise.

"Patients are usually treated with medications that help the symptoms but not the cause of the problem, or with implanted devices such as pacemakers or defibrillators," the company's CEO, Irit Yaniv said.

"Nothing else targets the muscle itself, and nothing else actually 'trains' the heart," she said.

Though it is still awaiting the approval by the Food and Drug Administration for use in hospitals in the United States, Optimizer III has already proven successful at hospitals throughout Europe and East Asia.

Yaniv also owns MetaCure, which uses similar technology to help patients with type 2 diabetes by stimulating the muscles lining the walls of the stomach.

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