First in the U.S. Heart Failure Treatment

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A new treatment pioneered in Israel is now being used for the first time in the U.S. Researchers are testing a system designed to quickly remove extra fluid, helping patients feel better within hours. (KFSN)

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood to the body's other organs, causing a buildup of fluid.

A new treatment pioneered in Israel is now being used for the first time in the U.S. Researchers are testing a system designed to quickly remove extra fluid, helping patients feel better within hours.

Sixty-one year old Raynes "Ray" Rozelle has had more energy in the past few months than he has in years. He was often out of breath and weak.

"I usually help give out produce from the food pantry. And it got to the point where I couldn't unload the trucks," Rozelle told Ivanhoe.

Ray put off seeing a doctor, until his daughter Ebony insisted he go.

Rozelle explained that she said to him, "I'm not married. I want my father to walk me down the aisle. And right now, you don't look like you're going to be able to do that. So let's go get it taken care of."

Sitaramesh Emani, MD, a cardiologist at The Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio diagnosed Ray with heart failure. A long history of heart disease left Ray's heart unable to move blood to his kidneys. His system was filled with fluid. Dr. Emani asked if Ray would be willing to be the first in the U.S. to test a new treatment. Doctors started by inserting a catheter in the large vein in Ray's neck.

"Through a series of special first small needles and then wires, we place the catheter into the vein and position it such that it surrounds the main lymphatic vessel," Dr. Emani explained.

The catheter is hooked up to a console that allows blood to be pumped out of the body and then circulated back in. Extra fluid goes out through the kidneys.

"We saw improvements within the first thirty minutes." Dr. Emani said.

Ray says he feels blessed he had the chance to be a medical groundbreaker.

"This will help somebody else. With that being said, I couldn't help but do it," Rozelle stated.

Ray Rozelle was connected to the machine for 12 hours. The current treatment for heart failure is diuretic medication, but doctors say diuretics sometimes only provide partial relief.

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