New treatment offers hope for patients with heart failure

Leicester’s first His bundle pacemaker, a pioneering new technique, has been implanted at Glenfield Hospital, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

The procedure was carried out as part of the HOPE-HF clinical trial and was performed by consultant cardiologists, Professor Andre Ng from the University of Leicester and Dr Ravi Pathmanathan from Leicester’s Hospitals.

The technique involves placing an extra pacemaker lead into the heart to correct the delay in onset of electrical activation within the heart. 

Some patients with heart failure have normal activation of the ventricles, but the onset of activation is delayed. This is called ‘PR interval prolongation’. 

These patients also have a higher risk of developing heart failure symptoms and death but do not benefit from CRT pacemakers currently. Direct His bundle pacing can correct the delay in the onset of activation of the heart and improve symptoms. Early studies have shown very promising results. 

The multicentre HOPE-HF clinical trial will test the new treatment in this group of patients with ‘PR interval prolongation’, who are not currently offered pacing therapy to treat their heart failure. 

“If the treatment is found to be effective, this would be an exciting advance, as it would mean we have a new treatment for a group of patients with heart failure. These patients are often very limited by their symptoms and therefore a new treatment which reduces symptoms would be very important,” says award-winning University of Leicester Professor of Cardiac Electrophysiology, Andre Ng.

The procedure has attracted much enthusiasm amongst the cardiology team at Glenfield, which is one of the largest cardiac centres in the UK and has been at the forefront of a number of innovations. 

The trial is funded by the British Heart Foundation, led by Imperial College, and being supported by Leicester’s new NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.