A 35-year-old Kiryat Malachi man this week became the first in Israel to undergo
the implantation in his chest of a unique pulse generator – developed in Israel
– that delivers electrical impulses to the heart for treatment of moderate to
severe heart failure.
Called Optimizer, the device is made by the US
company Impulse Dynamics and has been proven successful on patients in the US
Kobi Haddad, who is waiting for a heart transplant, underwent
the procedure at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot and immediately benefited from
improved heart performance; similar heart failure patients will soon
His Kaplan cardiologist, Prof, Kobi George, said the Optimizer is
a “revolutionary device that allows cardiac insufficiency patients waiting for a
transplant to improve their quality of life and daily functioning.”
the procedure, Haddad said he had great hopes that “with the help of the
wonderful and professional doctors and nurses in Kaplan, I will be able again to
carry out tasks that healthy people find completely trivial. The sensitivity and
hope they gave me here give me real optimism that I will be able to have a
normal life even without a heart transplant.”
George, who is chief of
cardiology, along with Dr. Ofir Paz and Dr. Moshe Suissa, implanted the device,
which is suited for “patients suffering from significant decline in the ability
of their heart muscle to contract” and thus have a reduced amount of oxygenated
blood flowing through their blood vessels.
Such patients find it
difficult to perform the simplest routine tasks such as walking, and their
condition is liable to speedily decline, they explained.
insufficiency is the main cause of death in people over the age of 65 and the
most common cause of hospitalization in this group. Recent advances in
cardiology have made it possible to extend the lives of cardiac patients, but
many of them still suffer from insufficiency.
Unlike other heart-failure
devices, the Optimizer works by strengthening the pumping force of the heart.
The Optimizer System modulates the strength of the heart’s contractions rather
than controlling its rhythm.
Patients who qualify for the Optimizer
System undergo a surgical procedure similar to putting in a pacemaker.
Typically, the surgery takes about four to five hours and requires three leads
to be implanted into the heart.
The New York-based company’s Israeli
technology research center that developed the Optimizer, Impulse Dynamics
(Israel) Ltd., is located in Ness Ziona. The device, first tested in 2001, looks
like an ordinary pacemaker or defibrillator and is installed in a similar way;
it operates on an internal battery that is charged from outside the body once a
week for about 90 minutes.
Every month, 20 or 30 patients at leading
medical centers in the US and Europe are routinely implanted with the
According to University of Texas-Southwestern Prof. Jose
Joglar, who is co-investigator of a study on the Optimizer, the device “could
benefit up to two-thirds of advanced heartfailure patients who may not qualify
for other kinds of therapy.”
Heart failure affects an estimated 15
million patients worldwide.