Heart failure is a chronic progressive disease in which the heart can no longer pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body. The cardiovascular disease has been shown to be associated with an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system that controls cardiac activity. This imbalance, a reduction in parasympathetic activity and an increase in sympathetic activity, overstresses the heart and contributes to the worsening of heart failure. By stimulating the vagus nerve, it is expected to normalize the autonomic asymmetry. The process consists of a small device implanted under the skin in the patient’s chest that delivers electrical pulses via a lead placed around the vagus nerve in the neck area.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), or Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy devices (CRT-D or CRT-P) may be indicated for some patients; however, the vast majority are not candidates for these therapies. This new system based in vagus nerve stimulation may offer a new device-based therapeutic option for these patients.