Press Release

St. Francis Patient Is First in Northeast to Receive Experimental Device for Controlling Chronic Heart Failure

March 7th, 2017

ROSLYN, New York - For the past 2 years, 68-year-old Thomas Amato found himself getting easily fatigued, retaining water and feeling short of breath. It got so bad that the Port Washington resident could barely breathe or walk and couldn’t go to work. But now, the architectural restorer, who suffers from chronic heart failure, is hoping to breathe a little easier, thanks to a minimally invasive device he received at St. Francis Hospital.

The device, known as the Barostim neo™, already being used in Europe to treat hypertension, is currently being tested in the U.S. through a major nationwide study. St. Francis was the first hospital in the Northeast to implant the small device. Inserted under the skin beneath the collar bone, it’s designed to improve cardiac and vascular function through a thin lead wire implanted on top of the carotid artery. It is then programmed using wireless technology to stimulate a healthier blood flow to the heart.

“Chronic heart failure continues to be a problem, although we have made a number of advances with respect to both medical and device therapies,” said Timothy J. Vittorio, MS, MD, the trial’s principal investigator at St. Francis. Vittorio recommended the Barostim to Amato as a possible long-term solution to his condition.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” said the willing research study participant, who only had to spend one night in the hospital and is healing well. He continues to work, selling architectural details, and looks forward to many more years of cooking, traveling and watching movies in his spare time with his wife of 43 years.

Subjects enrolled in the study have to come back every couple of weeks for monitoring and to have the frequency levels of their device adjusted, depending on their needs. Nearly 500 subjects are expected to take part in the study, which is expected to take 5 years. But it could end earlier if the results prove as positive as hoped for. In that case, the FDA will discontinue the study and green light the device for widespread clinical use.

There are approximately five million adults in the U.S. living with heart failure. Vittorio speculates that if the device is successful, nearly one million people could potentially benefit. 

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