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Sleeve worn on heart fights failure

12:54pm, December 5, 2004

From New Orleans, at a meeting of the American Heart Association

Wrapping failing hearts in mesh sleeves might save lives and avert the need for transplants. Researchers have tested a wrap that can be placed around an expanded and dangerously weakened heart. Pressure from the mesh restores the organ to an efficient, elliptical form, they report.

In a trial sponsored by the device's manufacturer, Acorn Cardiovascular of St. Paul, Minn., cardiologist Douglas L. Mann of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his colleagues implanted the mesh device, made of polymers, in half of 300 patients with serious heart failure. All patients also received standard therapies such as drugs, heart-valve surgery, and specialized pacemakers.

Nearly 2 years after implantation, 38 percent of

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