New Orleans Woman Becomes First Patient in the State to Receive OptimizerNEW ORLEANS, LA Ochsner Health System has announced today it is studying a medical device in patients to measure the potential health benefits of a new implantable pulse generator called the Optimizer". The Optimizer delivers electrical impulses to the heart for patients who suffer from moderate-to-severe heart failure. Ochsner Medical Center on Jefferson Highway is the only hospital in the state of Louisiana participating in this multi-center clinical research study. The first Optimizer implant in Louisiana was received by Ms. Deborah Bourque of New Orleans in October 2005. Dr. Freddy Abi Samra, MD, Director of Electrophysiology and pacing services at Ochsner, said of this research device, in spite of the advances made over the last 15 years, heart failure remains a common cause of death or disability. This novel therapy stimulates the heart as it is beating, which appears to make the heart beat more efficiently. It could really make a positive impact in the quality of life for millions of people who suffer from heart failure--as it has for Ms. Bourque. How does the Optimizer work differently than other heart devices? There are currently no other devices that provide the same effect as the Optimizer. Pacemakers work to re-establish a normal heart rate through the administration of electrical pacing signals. Defibrillators work to stop abnormal rhythms in a heart that is beating chaotically or too fast by delivering an electric shock. While these devices intend to resolve problems with the hearts rhythm, the Optimizer System is designed to modulate the strength of contraction of the heart muscle rather than its rhythm. What is the unique technology behind the Optimizer? Cardiac Contractility Modulation, or CCM, is a method for treating failing hearts. Unlike signals generated by other cardiac devices, the CCM signals do not initiate a heart beat. Rather, CCM signals are intended to modify heart cell function in a manner that affects the contractility of the heart muscle. What is Heart Failure & Its Impact? Heart failure is a disease caused by weak or damaged heart muscle that is unable to pump enough blood throughout the body. Heart failure is a disease that affects over 5 million Americans and an estimated 15 million patients worldwide. It is one of the most common causes of hospitalization and a growing and costly burden to the U.S. healthcare system. It is estimated that the U.S. healthcare system would have spent a projected $29.6 billion on caring for heart failure patients in 2006. Promise and Disclaimer: If proven safe and effective, the Optimizer System has the potential to help treat heart failure in a large number of patients. This is a research device and results cannot be guaranteed.