A snug microfiber mesh sweater for the heart, above, could help prevent the organ's enlargement, an often-deadly complication of heart failure. The individually tailored CorCap Cardiac Support Device, made by St. Paul, Minn.-based Acorn Cardiovascular, is installed during a two-hour surgery. More than 300 patients have received them in clinical trials.
Spencer Kubo, Acorn's global medical director, said the device fuses with heart tissue and becomes a permanent part of the heart. Three to six months after surgery, he said, patients were less easily fatigued and less likely to require further heart operations. He said the device has partially rehabilitated one patient's overgrown and overstressed left ventricle.
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The cap, which Kubo said could be approved for widespread use next year, does not replace medications; it is meant as an adjunct treatment for patients who don't fully respond to drugs.
-- Matt McMillen