New Jersey hospital performs novel procedure that makes enlarged heart smaller

Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center in July became the first in the state to treat a heart attack patient with a new device that makes enlarged, weak hearts smaller. 

A team of interventional cardiologists and surgeons completed the procedure on a 63-year-old heart failure patient in July. The procedure involves the removal of scarred heart tissue that makes the organ enlarged, which allows the heart to pump blood more efficiently and improves quality of life for patients, according to an Oct. 4 news release. 

It's meant for heart failure patients who have had a severe heart attack resulting in left ventricle tissue scarring and is a minimally invasive alternative to open-heart surgery. 

The procedure is being evaluated through the American Less Invasive Ventricular Enhancement clinical trial, known as ALIVE. During the procedure, device components are implanted using a catheter inserted into the heart via a vein in the neck and a probe inserted through a small incision in the chest. 

In the patient at Hackensack University Medical Center, the procedure led to a reduction in the volume of his left ventricle by 30 percent and has since relieved his shortness of breath. The hospital also said tests have shown the patient's heart is now beating more effectively. 

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