Dr. Ravi Kishore, chief interventional cardiologist and electrophysiologist at Health City, performed the first-ever CCM implantation in the Caribbean, Central or South America.

Dr. Ravi Kishore of Health City Cayman Islands recently became the first physician in the Caribbean, Central or South America to install a cardiac contractility modulation device to treat heart failure.

“This is the first time we have introduced this device in the entire Caribbean,” said Dr. Kishore, Health City’s chief cardiologist and electrophysiologist, in a news release.

The device, called the Optimizer IVs Active Implantable Pulse Generator, was installed in August.

“It’s an investigational device so it’s not routinely implanted in patients in the U.S. and none of them [have] been implanted in Central America and South America. In that sense, I think we have introduced yet another novel therapy in the region,” Dr. Kishore said.

In contrast to other treatments like pacemaker therapy, cardiac contractility modulation (CCM) devices do not directly affect the cardiac rhythm. Instead, they attempt to enhance the heart’s natural contraction over long periods of time.

CCM device implantation is currently used only on an investigational basis in the United States, but CCM devices are approved and available for clinical use in Europe and Australia, Turkey, India and Hong Kong.

CCM therapy is not currently approved for clinical use in the U.S., but a study has been initiated to obtain approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

“We are very happy introducing a new device for our patients in the Cayman Islands … this is specifically used in patients with congestive heart failure where the heart pumping function has come down in spite of medications,” said Dr. Kishore. “The CCM device functions by giving non-contractile stimuli to the heart. It modulates the metabolism of the heart in such a way that its contractile function improves.”

Between 60 percent and 70 percent of patients are not eligible for traditional cardiac resynchronization therapy, and are, therefore, potential candidates for CCM therapy.

“We had one such eligible patient who had to have recurrent hospital admissions despite treatment with medication,” Dr. Kishore said. “His pumping function had come down to something like 25 percent to 30 percent, normal is 60 percent. By doing this particular device, he is showing a remarkable improvement just at two weeks after implant.”

Howard Vernon visited Health City with shortness of breath and a condition that left him fatigued through normal activity. That led to Dr. Kishore proposing the CCM treatment, and Mr. Vernon has been surprised at how quickly he’s been able to return to his normal lifestyle.

“Everything has been great since day one with them, and even after the surgery,” he said. “For sure, not short of breath since the surgery. They gave me the OK to start back exercise and I [started] back working about a week ago, and so far, I feel much, much better.”

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