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    Filter May Help Treat Heart Failure

    Study Shows New Device May Have Edge Over Treatment With Diuretics

    Reductions in Hospitalizations continued...

    People on the device were also only about half as likely to have to go to the emergency department or have an unscheduled office visit over the first 90 days.

    Clyde Yancy, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and a spokesman for the American Heart Association, says the one drawback was that people on filtration were just as likely to be short of breath as those on diuretics.

    Nevertheless, "this is an exciting technology," he tells WebMD, adding that new treatments for heart failure are desperately needed. "And it didn't harm kidney function, which is very important."

    A Patient's View

    Eric Guggemos, a 33-year-old chef who has suffered from heart failure since 1989, says the device "gave me my life back."

    Guggemos tells WebMD that he was switched from one drug to another after diuretics stopped working for him. Then last year, his weight swelled to 275 pounds and he could barely get out of his chair.

    After admitting himself to the hospital, he says he was offered the device. "I literally watched the fluid come out. Within 24 hours, I could feel the difference; I was lighter and could breathe and move around easier. It's incredible."

    Costanzo says that although the initial cost is more, there is the potential for real cost savings due to the reduction in rehospitalizations.

    The Aquadex FlexFlow device costs about $10,000, and the filters used in each process cost about $800. Heart failure is associated with $28 billion in health care costs annually in the U.S.

    The study was funded by CHF Solutions of Minneapolis, which markets the device.

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