Barostim therapy works by sending small electrical pulses to specialized pressure sensors in your neck called baroreceptors. These sensors signal the brain to regulate the heart, kidney, and vascular function.
A pacemaker is connected directly to the heart and is designed to maintain a minimum heart rate. Barostim has no hardware in the heart and is designed to improve heart failure symptoms.
An implantable defibrillator is designed to restore a heart to a normal rhythm if it goes into a potentially dangerous fast heart rate. Barostim is designed to improve heart failure symptoms.
Typically yes, if you meet the Barostim treatment indication criteria. Close to 80% of the patients who received Barostim in the BeAT-HF trial, already had an implantable defibrillator. As always, you should discuss this with a physician.
You may qualify for Barostim if you:
Have been diagnosed with heart failure NYHA class 3 or 2, including 3 in your recent history, and are already receiving guideline directed medical therapy.
Have a left ventricular ejection fraction of 35% or less.
Blood test for NT-proBNP of <1,600 pg/mL.
Preparing for my Appointment
Be prepared to talk about how your heart failure symptoms, including shortness of breath or fatigue, are limiting activities that are important to you such as:
Walking up stairs
Going to the grocery store
Spending time with family and friends
Write down any questions you have for the doctor.
Bring a list of medications you are taking.
In the first appointment, the cardiologist will review your most recent heart failure records and will be able to talk to you about whether Barostim may be an option to treat your specific kind of heart failure.
If Barostim therapy may be an option for you, the doctor may order additional tests such as an echocardiogram, EKG and NT-proBNP blood test.
If you are a candidate for Barostim, a surgeon will meet with you to perform a carotid ultrasound and discuss the implant procedure.
The Barostim implant is placed under the skin, typically during an outpatient surgical procedure.
You may be able to go home the same day as the procedure, and typically you can get back to your normal activities within 24 hours.
Your physician will provide post-implant instructions.
Life With Barostim
Barostim typically takes 3-6 months to feel the full benefit as the energy output of Barostim is gradually increased.
While Barostim has been proven to improve symptoms of heart failure, you will probably need to continue with medications to help with your heart failure. You and your doctor will decide on your course of treatment.
You’ll likely be able to return to normal activities within a few days following the guidance and direction of your physician.
As with any surgical procedure, the visibility of the scars will depend on your skin tone and individual healing process.
Barostim has MRI Conditional approval which means it is safe to be used during an MRI scan within defined conditions.
After the system is implanted, you will initially meet with your doctor approximately once per month so they can adjust the therapy to work best for you – this can take approximately 5 visits.
Once the therapy is fully optimized, your doctor will see you and check your Barostim device every six months.
This will depend on the device’s energy output, but the average is 5-6 years.
When the battery gets low, the device is replaced in a simple procedure.
Yes, in many cases. Your insurance may require prior authorization before approving Barostim surgery.