New Hope for Heart Failure Patients


For Immediate Release:
August 26, 2008

Heart Net

(LONDON, Ontario) – Patients with heart failure may have new hope in a newly developed device being trialed at London Health Sciences Centre which can potentially improve the quality of their lives.

“Until now, the main treatments for patients with heart failure are medications, pacemaker devices, and invasive surgeries such as heart transplantation,” said Dr. Bob Kiaii, cardiac surgeon at London Health Sciences Centre. “With HeartNet, we have an additional less-invasive surgical intervention for the treatment of this disease”

Patients with heart failure have enlarged hearts. Enlarged hearts do not function properly as the heart muscle starts to lose the integrity of its shape. The HeartNet device, which looks like a net, is wrapped around the heart, supporting and squeezing it, and may help to “remodel” it. As a result, there is reduced stress on the heart which may function better, decreasing symptoms in patients so that they may be more comfortably involved in daily activities.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to take advantage of this state-of-the-art technology,” said Kevin Mitchell, 67, the first patient to receive HeartNet in Ontario. “I am still amazed by the minimally invasive nature of the procedure.”

HeartNet, a product developed by ParaCor Medical, Inc., is presently being trialed and studied at a few hospitals across North America, including three in Canada. The procedure, which only requires a small incision of 5 to 7 centimeters in order to install the device around the heart, is experimental and researchers hope to test it on as many as 300 people. Select patients in both Alberta and British Columbia have also received the device.

Dr. Malcolm Arnold, a cardiologist at London Health Sciences Centre and researcher at Lawson Health Research Institute, is the principal investigator in London.

“Patients with heart failure will need to continue taking medications and manage their other health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol,” said Dr. Malcolm Arnold. “We hope that the HeartNet device will improve heart function and become a valuable part of our treatment of patients with heart failure.”

Approximately 500,000 Canadians have heart failure and an additional 50,000 cases are diagnosed each year. People with heart failure suffer from ankle swelling, coughing, shortness of breath and fatigue. Heart failure is treated with medications and some patients eventually need heart transplants.

Adds Mitchell, “I volunteer at the local hospital in Ingersoll and I recently joined Lions Club International – I am looking forward to giving back for many years to come.”

For more information about ParaCor Medical you may check out their website at

About London Health Sciences Centre

London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for over 130 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital and Children’s Hospital, two family medical centres, and Lawson Health Research Institute - a joint research initiative with St Joseph’s Health Care, London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 30 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in Southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s 10,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit .

About Lawson Health Research Institute

As the research institute of London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph's Health Care, London, and working in partnership with The University of Western Ontario, Lawson Health Research Institute is committed to furthering scientific knowledge to advance health care around the world. For more information visit .

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For more information contact:
Mitra Foroutan
Corporate Communications and Public Relations
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 74772

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