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Monday 24th October 2016

'Heart shrinking' trial to begin

30th April 2012

A new trial is getting under way in the UK which could help extend the life expectancy of heart failure patients.


The technique uses a device similar to a pacemaker, which uses electricity to stimulate a nerve leading to the heart and help reduce the size of the organ of patients with the condition.

Although the technique has shown some success on rats and dogs, this is the first trial of this kind in humans with the first patient due to be fitted with the device within the next few days.

It is being carried out at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital and The Royal Liverpool University Hospital, with surgeons due to fit the device to the vagus nerve which runs to the heart to help protect it from the effects of the hormone adrenaline, which makes the heart pump faster.

Heart failure, which affects about 900,000 people in the UK, results from the heart losing its ability to pump blood around the body and eventually it becomes enlarged as it fills with too much blood.

Consultant cardiologist at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, Dr Jay Wright, said while his team was hoping to shrink the heart, it might not be back to the normal size but were hoping that any shrinkage would lead to improvement in a patient’s symptoms.

There will be almost 100 patients in 30 centres around the world taking part in the trial.

The first patient in Liverpool will be former paramedic Carl Jordan, who has had several heart attacks which have damaged his heart.


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