Five million Americans suffer from heart failure and it is estimated that 150,000 of them could benefit from advanced treatments such as heart pumps or transplants.
The problem is simple though, there are not enough donor hearts and some patients are too ill for major surgery. Now, there is another option on the horizon. An experimental device called the "Heartnet" looks like a stretchy hair net placed around the heart to support it like a stocking. Cardiologist, Dr. Simon Maybaum, says, "By supporting the outside of the heart, we reduce the stress on the heart muscle and with a goal of decreasing the size of the heart and improving heart function. This is for patients earlier in the spectrum of disease who have exhausted their options for conventional medications and left to their own devices would likely progress to the need for a heart pump and a heart transplant".
Surgeons access the heart through a small incision between the ribs and use a special device to slip that net around the heart. The surgery is minimally invasive, which makes it easier on the patients. After a few days in the hospital, patients go home to recover fully in just a few weeks.