Heart Implant Does Well in First Tryout at Rambam

YERUSHALAYIM -

A Canadian man recently became the first person to undergo therapeutic surgery for congestive heart failure, at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Robert McClaken, 72, who has suffered from severe heart failure in recent years, came to Rambam to undergo the procedure. His condition is reportedly much improved and he will be able to return home in the coming days.

The CoRolla implant was invented by Dr. Yair Peled, who heads Israeli startup company CorAssist, and Dr. Yotam Reisner. The device is inserted in the heart and assists in the relaxation process. This device is a type of spring whose action is based on storing energy during the contraction of the heart muscle and releasing it during relaxation to expand the heart to its normal level.

In what was described as a minimally invasive procedure, the spring was implanted by catheter in the left ventricle while the heart continued beating. The device is currently in clinical trials in humans, and the operation at Rambam was approved by Israel’s Health Ministry as an experimental treatment.

The surgery was performed by Prof. Gil Bolotin, director of Rambam’s cardiac surgery department, and Dr. Arthur Kerner, a senior physician in the invasive cardiology unit, among others.
“Over 40 percent of the patients who are in Robert’s condition are expected to die within five years of diagnosis,” Bolotin said. “In a very simple mechanical way, we are actually trying to solve an unmet medical problem, even though it’s a bit scary to be the first to do it.”

McClaken said he’s “been sick for three years, and the thought that I might die is ringing in my head all the time.

“When I heard that there was a possible solution in Israel, I took a plane and came,” he added. “I am very happy to be the first person in the world, and I have the opportunity to help other people in my condition.”