Categorized | Health

“Elegantly Simple”

Tennova patient feature copyThose are the words used by Turkey Creek Medical Center Cardiologist and Clinical Research Director, Malcolm Foster, MD, to describe the revolutionary new medical device used by his team in a landmark, first-of-its-kind treatment for heart failure here in the United States. The trial procedure, performed for the first time in Tennessee on February 6th at Turkey Creek Medical Center and only the third time in the nation, involved implanting a device referred to as the “Parachute” into the heart of 47-year-old Gregg Fruchtnicht of Sevierville, Tennessee. The procedure gained even more national attention after being featured on the ABC drama Grey’s Anatomy.

Gregg suffered with congestive heart failure (CHF) after years of damage to the heart muscle from multiple heart attacks. He had his first heart attack in 2005, followed by another in 2007, which led to five heart bypasses. However, damage had been done to his heart, and he developed continuing side effects from CHF – shortness of breath, fatigue, and a rapid heartbeat.

“Inserted through a catheter into the heart, the Parachute device is deployed and allows remodeling of the enlarged heart muscle into a healthy shape, thus improving its function,” said Dr. Foster. “Gregg did extremely well, and he expressed an improvement in his ability to breathe just days after the procedure.”

“I can climb stairs now without becoming completely winded – something I could not do before this procedure,” said Gregg. “It’s gratifying to be a part of something that may become a standard treatment for others like me.”

After a heart attack, many heart failure patients experience enlargement of their left ventricle, causing a decrease in cardiac output, resulting in heart failure symptoms such as shortness of breath. Treatment options for patients whose ventricle has enlarged are limited. The Parachute device offers the first minimally invasive catheter-based treatment to partition the damaged muscle, excluding the non-functional heart muscle from the healthy, functional muscle to decrease the overall volume of the left ventricle and restore its geometry and function.

“I feel as if I’ve been given a second chance at life,” said Gregg. “There simply are no words to describe my gratitude to the caring and compassionate medical professionals at Turkey Creek Medical Center or the simple joy I experience each and every time I climb stairs.”

Heart failure is a common, debilitating, and potentially deadly condition in which the heart is unable to supply sufficient blood flow to meet the needs of the body. Symptoms of heart failure negatively impact quality of life and include shortness of breath, persistent coughing or wheezing, buildup of excess fluid in body tissues (edema), fatigue, lack of appetite or nausea, impaired thinking, and increased heart rate. More than 20 million people around the world are affected, with approximately six million in the United States, where it is responsible for 1.1 million hospitalizations annually.

Tennova Healthcare, with six acute care hospitals, more than 1,000 leading physicians, and more than 5,000 healthcare associates, is committed to providing East Tennessee with the highest level of experienced and compassionate care using the latest, state-of-the-art technology. The Parachute devices for heart failure, and multiple clinical trials taking place at Turkey Creek Medical Center, represent Tennova Healthcare’s commitment to improving the cardiovascular health of our community.

To learn more, call 865-218-7011 or visit www.tennova.com.

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