Sentara Heart Hospital is one of the current 40 active U.S. sites studying the effectiveness of the device to treat congestive heart failure in people who have suffered a heart attack.

Sentara Heart® now enrolling heart failure patients

Researchers at Sentara Cardiovascular Research Institute are among the first in Virginia to enroll patients in the PARACHUTE IV trial of an investigational device to treat heart failure.

Sentara Heart Hospital is one of the current 40 active U.S. sites studying the effectiveness of the device to treat congestive heart failure in people who have suffered a heart attack. Seven patients in Hampton Roads have been enrolled.

How it Works

The Parachute® ventricular partitioning device resembles a parachute and is placed inside the heart during a minimally invasive heart catheterization. Once in place, the device blocks a portion of the heart muscle damaged by a heart attack and reshapes the interior of the heart. Heart failure is a progressive disease affecting about 5.1 million Americans.

“The Parachute device, if proven effective, would offer a new non-surgical, minimally invasive means of helping a damaged heart recover more quickly and fully,” says Sentara Heart® cardiologist Allen Ciuffo, M.D., principal investigator of the study.

“We are involved in this study to find out if we can improve the quality of life and long-term outcomes of our patients,” says Ciuffo.

The study is randomized which means participants have an equal chance to either receive the test device or the current standard of care for heart failure. This allows researchers to compare results for both groups throughout the 5-year-long study.

Patient Story

On March 26, 2012, Tim Malone, 55, had a heart attack in a Virginia Beach urgent care center. He was transferred to Sentara Leigh Hospital where he received three stents that same day.

“After that procedure, I thought my heart should be functioning better than ever,” says Malone. The heart attack damaged his heart and even after the stents, his heart function continued to decline. On May 29, 2013, Malone became one of the first recipients of the parachute device in Hampton Roads as part of the study. “I’m feeling drastically better with the parachute,” says Malone, and a measure of how well his heart is pumping with every beat suggests he’s doing better too.

Common symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath during daily activities
  • Trouble breathing when lying down
  • Weight gain with swelling in feet, ankles, legs or stomach
  • General tired or weak feeling