Eur Heart J. 2010 Oct 28. [Epub ahead of print]
Chronic vagus nerve stimulation: a new and promising therapeutic approach for chronic heart failure.
De Ferrari GM, Crijns HJ, Borggrefe M, Milasinovic G, Smid J, Zabel M, Gavazzi A, Sanzo A, Dennert R, Kuschyk J, Raspopovic S, Klein H, Swedberg K, Schwartz PJ; for the CardioFit Multicenter Trial Investigators.
Department of Cardiology, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy.
Aims In chronic heart failure (CHF), reduced vagal activity correlates with increased mortality and acute decompensation. Experimentally, chronic vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) improved left ventricular (LV) function and survival; clinically, it is used for the treatment of drug-refractory epilepsy. We assessed safety and tolerability of chronic VNS in symptomatic CHF patients, using a novel implantable nerve stimulation system. The secondary goal was to obtain preliminary data on clinical efficacy. Methods and results This multi-centre, open-label phase II, two-staged study (8-patient feasibility phase plus 24-patient safety and tolerability phase) enrolled 32 New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II-IV patients [age 56 ± 11 years, LV ejection fraction (LVEF) 23 ± 8%]. Right cervical VNS with CardioFit (BioControl Medical) implantable system started 2-4 weeks after implant, slowly raising intensity; patients were followed 3 and 6 months thereafter with optional 1-year follow-up. Overall, 26 serious adverse events (SAEs) occurred in 13 of 32 patients (40.6%), including three deaths and two clearly device-related AEs (post-operative pulmonary oedema, need of surgical revision). Expected non-serious device-related AEs (cough, dysphonia, and stimulation-related pain) occurred early but were reduced and disappeared after stimulation intensity adjustment. There were significant improvements (P < 0.001) in NYHA class quality of life, 6-minute walk test (from 411 ± 76 to 471 ± 111 m), LVEF (from 22 ± 7 to 29 ± 8%), and LV systolic volumes (P = 0.02). These improvements were maintained at 1 year. Conclusions This open-label study shows that chronic VNS in CHF patients with severe systolic dysfunction may be safe and tolerable and may improve quality of life and LV function. A controlled clinical trial appears warranted.
PMID: 21030409 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher