Winthrop's Todd J. Cohen, MD Implants Hospital's First Patient with New Device to Treat Congestive Heart Failure

Vol. 12, No. 1
March, 2002

  • Winthrop-University Hospital Comes Out on Top of Joint Commission Accreditation of Healthcare Organization's 2001 Survey

  • Winthrop's Todd J. Cohen, MD Implants Hospital's First Patient with New Device to Treat Congestive Heart Failure

  • Winthrop-University Hospital First on L.I. to Perform Cardiac Surgery Without Stitches

  • Winthrop-University Hospital's New PET Imaging Center Opens, Offers Greater Hope to Cancer Patients

  • Winthrop-University Hospital First on Long Island to Use New Fetal Oxygen Sensor During Labor and Delivery

  • Winthrop's New Breast Imaging & Diagnostic Suite - "One Stop Shop" for Women

  • Promising New Treatments on Horizon for Parkinson's Disease

  • Winthrop-University Hospital is First in New York Metro Area to Pioneer New Communication System for Hearing-Impaired Patients

  • Winthrop Pediatricians Turn Literary for Kids

  • "Nursing Home Without Walls" Gives Elderly and Disabled Independence in Their Own Home

  • "Balloon" Technique Helps Mend Spine Fractures, Relieves Pain in Patients with Osteoporosis

  • Long Island Poison & Drug Information Center at Winthrop Stresses Prevention to Avoid Accidental Poisonings

  • Winthrop Awarded $1.1 Million Grant from New York State

  • AT&T Employees Tee Off to Help Children at Winthrop's Cancer Center for Kids

  • Citibank Gives Hope to Children at Winthrop-University Hospital's Cancer Center For Kids in Form of a $10,000 Donation

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  • For the more than 4.5 million Americans living with heart failure throughout the nation, a new treatment is now available to improve their quality of life. Cardiac resynchronization therapy (or biventricular pacing) is changing the face of heart disease at Winthrop-University Hospital. Todd J. Cohen, MD, Director of the Electrophysiology Laboratory and Cardiac Arrhythmia Center at Winthrop-University Hospital, part of the Division of Cardiology of the Institute for Heart Care, performed the first implantation of a cardiac resynchronization device at Winthrop to treat heart failure.

    Approved by the FDA in August of 2001, the Medtronic InSync� cardiac resynchronization system is an implantable device that improves the pumping efficiency of the heart and helps alleviate life-altering symptoms of heart failure. About half the size of the palm of a man's hand, the device is setting a new standard for treatment of the disease.

    Dr. Cohen's patient, 72-year-old Charles Johnston, was initially in Class III congestive heart failure and had ventricular tactacardia (extremely rapid heart rhythm). (Class IV is the highest and most dangerous level of heart failure.) According to Dr. Cohen, the patient had trouble walking just 15 steps without becoming fatigued and short of breath. Because of his condition, he was a prime candidate for cardiac resynchronization therapy.

    "Cardiac resynchronization is a highly successful procedure to treat heart failure and the first of its kind to help the heart beat better," added Dr. Cohen. "Resynchronization therapy helps to improve the heart's efficiency and increase blood flow throughout the body. By reducing the symptoms of heart failure such as fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain and swelling in the ankles and feet, it improves a patient's quality of life and ability to perform the most basic tasks of daily living, like walking."

    Heart Failure - A Growing Medical Problem
    According to the American Heart Association, about 285,000 people die from congestive heart failure each year. The five-year mortality rate is a staggering 50 percent with about 550,000 new cases occurring every year, usually in patients over 65 or with other forms of heart disease such as coronary artery disease and hypertension.

    In cardiac resynchronization therapy, a small device is implanted under the skin in the chest to harmonize the contractions of the ventricles by sending tiny electrical impulses to the heart muscle through three thin, insulated wires, or leads. This helps the heart pump blood throughout the body more effectively, greatly reducing the symptoms of heart failure.

    New Lease on Life
    Just one day after the implantation, Mr. Johnston was up and walking the halls of the Hospital for more than 10 minutes at a time. In this specific case, Dr. Cohen modified an implantable defibrillator to treat his life threatening fast heart rhythms to the InSync� biventricular pacing system.

    Noted Dr. Cohen, "He had his energy back almost immediately and experienced no fatigue or chest pain during his strolls around the Hospital. The turnaround I've seen in a short period of time is truly amazing. Mr. Johnston has his life back again."

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