Spring 2002
The Heart Institute Sets the Pace with the Latest Treatment for CHF

The Heart Institute If you tire easily, become short of breath, or have dizzy spells, you may have congestive heart failure, or CHF. (If you haven't spoken to your doctor about these symptoms, you should do so right away.)

When the strength of the heartbeat is too weak to effectively pump blood, CHF occurs. Your heart tries to make up for this by getting bigger and pumping faster. This over-works the heart—not a healthy situation. Medications are usually helpful for CHF, but if they do not work, there is a new treatment being used in the Heart Institute at Bridgeport Hospital: pacemaker implantation for CHF.

Pacemakers have been used since the 1960s to treat slow heart rhythms. When the heart beat slows, the pacemaker sends out an impulse to pick up the beat to the correct rate. Recently, matchbox sized pacemakers have been developed to treat CHF. Surgically placed below the collarbone, they synchronize the beating of the right and left pumping chambers of the heart to help it to beat more strongly.

"CHF patients who receive the new pacemaker generally see a noticeable improvement in their ability to exert themselves before tiring or becoming short of breath," says Dr. Jeffrey Banker. Dr. Banker performed the first CHF pacemaker procedure at Bridgeport Hospital.

For more information, please call the office of Craig McPherson, MD, director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at Bridgeport Hospital, 203-384-3442.