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Better days ahead for Bill

Published on Friday February 17, 2023
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Barostim-Baroflex Activation Therapy & Bill Jenkin’s Story

Before October 6, 2022, Bill Jenkins chose to forgo participating in many family activities because he “just didn't feel well,” and while Bill was not critically ill, he often had, “bad days.” Fortunately, because of a new procedure being offered at Centra, those feelings and negative mindset have been changed. 

Dr. Matthew Sackett introduced Bill Jenkins to the idea of a Barostim device during a cardiology check-up. This device uses the body's own reflexes to improve cardiovascular function for patients with heart failure and a reduced ejection fraction. After vascular surgery at Centra's Lynchburg General Hospital, performed by Dr. David Cassada, Bill now has a more optimistic outlook on the activities that he can participate in. The recovery was quick and routine, and he is grateful to all of those who took care of him.

Formally known as Barostim-Baroflex Activation Therapy (BAT), Barostim is a treatment option for patients with congestive heart failure who experience ejection fraction of under 35%. Ejection fraction is the amount of blood the left ventricle pumps out with each contraction. When the ejection fraction drops below 40%, the heart is not pumping sufficient blood which can lead to an individual not being able to complete regular activities without assistance or frequent breaks. 

A relatively new treatment option, Barostim device implantation is completed by inserting a small device approximately the size of a pacemaker into a skin flap on the right side of the patient’s chest. From this device, a lead is tunneled to the Carotid Artery and sutured to the artery. The device delivers electric impulses through the lead to the nerve endings of the Carotid Artery which results in an increase of parasympathetic sensation. An increase in parasympathetic sensation causes the heart to pump more blood and combat the symptoms of congestive heart failure. The non-invasive, outpatient procedure takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. 

Centra is excited to begin offering this procedure because of the improvements to patients’ quality of life. One study found that over 50% of patients who had Barostim-Baroflex Activation Therapy were able to reduce the number of medications they were taking for the treatment of their heart failure symptoms. A simple outpatient procedure suddenly makes it possible for individuals to walk their dog without becoming seriously out of breath and play with their grandkids instead of only watching from a nearby bench. 

In the case of Bill Jenkins, he now has more energy and many more good days since having the Barostim implant procedure. For quite some time, he has attended an exercise class at Centra's Healthy Living Center within the Jamerson Family YMCA. Previously, he was worn out after the class, but now he just feels as if he has had a good workout. Bill exclaimed, "for an old man, feeling normal and more energetic is a good thing!"