Israeli hospital trials implant to treat heart failure

Canadian patient first to receive revolutionary new implant


A revolutionary implant that treats diastolic heart failure has been used for the first time at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Centre.

The implant, developed by an Israeli start-up, is a “therapeutic breakthrough”, according to Dr Yair Feld, the cardiologist who invented it.

More than 23 million people across the world suffer heart failure, which occurs when the heart is unable to pump sufficient blood to meet the body’s needs. Around half of all cases are diastolic and affect the left ventricle.


People who suffer heart failure experience shortness of breath, excessive tiredness and leg swelling and until now the disease, which is fatal in around 40 per cent of cases, has had no effective medical solution.

Mr Feld developed the CORolla, an elastic device that is implanted inside the left ventricle of the heart by a minimally invasive procedure.

The device improves cardiac function by applying direct expansion force on the ventricle wall to help the heart fill with blood.

Robert McClaken, 72, from Canada volunteered to be the first person in the world to undergo the surgery using the implant.

Mr McClaken, who has suffered from severe heart failure, was treated at the Rambam this week, and has reported a significant improvement in his condition. 

He said he turned to Israel for treatment after running out of options in Canada. His wife had read about the CORolla implant online and contacted Dr Karen Bitton Worms, head of research in the Department of Cardiac Surgery at Rambam.  

Professor Rafi Beyer, director of Rambam, said: "I am proud that Rambam offers treatments to patients not available anywhere else in the world.

“The Israel Ministry of Health has authorized up to 10 clinical trials at Rambam in Israel to test the efficacy of cardiac catheterization for placement of the CORolla implant.”
Mr McClaken hopes to be discharged within a few days and return to Canada.

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