Good news for patients with heart failure. A recent study at Rambam Health Care Campus shows that a new Israeli-developed device successfully eliminates congestion in heart failure patients.
When worn, the Microclimate Suit naturally expels body fluids through evaporation, alleviating symptoms of heart failure. The study showed no side effects or changes in blood pressure or renal function were observed while the suit was used.
The suit is based on a simple but sophisticated idea: "Using the body's natural sweating mechanism to remove an abnormal buildup of body fluid through the skin mitigates symptoms of heart failure," explains Prof. Aronson, "At Rambam, we already use Microclimate Suit for hospitalized patients with severe heart failure."
From the moment it is worn, the Microclimate Suit evaporates fluids from the skin's surface so that the patient does not feel clammy and there is no moisture accumulation on the skin. Throughout treatment, the level of fluids leaving the body is measured and displayed on a monitor.
The level of BNP (B-type natriuretic peptide - a protein hormone that regulates blood circulation in an overburdened heart) in the bloodstream goes up in response to a stressful situation in the heart. Research findings at Rambam HCC indicate a 30% to 50% decrease in the stress hormone level after wearing the Microclimate Suit for three days due to the evaporation of body fluids. "This is due to a reduced level of pressure in the heart and better fluid balance," explains Prof. Aronson.
Yuval Markel, one of the research participants who has suffered from heart failure for the past fourteen years, asserts, "The Microclimate Suit is reasonably comfortable, circulating warm air around the body. You don't feel as if you are perspiring. During six sessions of around seven hours each, I shed around five-six pounds per session while wearing the suit. The day following each session, I was less tired, and I felt lighter for several weeks after that. I can leave the house and enjoy many activities."
Hana Aluti, a patient from Nazareth, affirms: "I was almost bedridden. I couldn't do anything, but after treatment with the Microclimate Suit, I felt almost normal. I can dress myself and am not out of breath all the time. Thanks to this treatment, I'm out of danger."
The study's findings were presented at a recent international cardiology conference at Rambam's Eyal Ofer Heart Hospital and research center. Experts also discussed future, anticipated research in the field.
"Enhancing fluids and sodium loss via the skin can change the paradigm of treating fluid overload in heart and renal failure. When our patients report enhanced quality of life, and we see a significant decrease in heart failure-related hospitalizations and mortality, we know we are on the right track," said Prof. Aronson.
In Israel, approximately 200,000 people suffer from heart failure (HF). One in five people over the age of forty, suffer from HF. HF is the leading cause of adult hospitalizations in internal medicine departments.