A Canadian man who had despaired of finding a treatment at home became the first person to receive a new Israeli implant that treats heart failure, according to a statement from Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center which performed the procedure.
Robert MacLachlan, 72, who suffers from diastolic heart failure — a condition where the chamber of the heart does not fill up with blood properly — said he volunteered to be the first to try the device because he had heard of the Israeli invention and his cardiologist told him of Rambam’s good international reputation.
The hospital did not give further information on MacLachlan’s condition following the operation, except to describe him as “bright-eyed.”
The CORolla device, developed by Israeli startup CorAssist, is an elastic device that is implanted into the left ventricle of the heart while it is beating to improve cardiac diastolic function. It applies direct expansion force on the ventricle wall to help the heart fill with blood.
The CorAssist technology was invented by Dr. Yair Feld, a cardiologist at Rambam Health Care Campus, together with Dr. Yotam Reisner and Dr. Shay Dubi.
Professor Gil Bolotin, director of the Department of Cardiac Surgery, who co-led the team that performed the procedure, explained that while many potential applicants were interested, no one had wanted to be first.
Heart failure affects some 5.7 million people in the US and some 20 million people worldwide. Symptoms include shortness of breath, tiredness, swollen legs and limited ability to exercise or perform simple physical tasks.
The prognosis for heart failure patients is poor, with more than 40 percent dying within five years of diagnosis.
About half of those patients suffer from diastolic heart failure. The incidence of diastolic heart failure increases with age and is most prevalent among women with hypertension, obesity and diabetes. There is currently no effective proven treatment for the condition.
The Health Ministry has authorized up to 10 clinical trials of the CORolla implant.