Kenneth Stoll, 72, moved to the First Coast from Virginia to enjoy an active retirement with his grandchildren. But, his life was in jeopardy after two years of failed treatments for his heart failure. Stoll’s heart health was dismal and down to 17 percent, and he had little to no energy.
Fortunately, Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside became the first in Florida and the region to participate in a groundbreaking trial forthe world’s only wireless cardiac pacing system for heart failure. There are only a few trial locations in the country, and this is one of only two locations in Florida.
“It’s a miracle,” said Stoll. “Without this device, you probably wouldn’t be talking to me. It’s made a difference in my life that’s night and day.”
Prior to the wireless pacemaker, Stoll had tried many other failed treatments for his heart failure, including the implantation of a traditional pacemaker three years ago. Stoll knew his only other option was a heart transplant, but even this was not feasible due to his age and deteriorating condition.
“When I had my pacemaker installed, I had a heart function of 52 and it was great and then all of a sudden my heart bottomed out,” he said. “I became very ill with congestive heart failure.”
This was when Stoll’s cardiologist, Dr. Saumil Oza, recommended Stoll join a clinical trial he was leading at Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside, where he would test the world’s first wireless pacemaker designed to be implanted inside the left ventricle of the heart. This grain-sized, wireless pacemaker, known as the WiSE CRT System by EBR Systems, Inc., was designed specifically for the 30 percent of patients, like Kenneth, who do not respond to traditional treatments.
“We really had zero options for these patients outside of heart transplant or mechanical heart,” said Oza, Chief of Cardiology at Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside. “Many patients are not candidates because they’re too old or too frail, so they really had no other options.”
It wasn’t long after the wireless pacemaker was implanted that Stoll started to see life-changing results. Stoll got his energy back and was feeling like himself again.
“Because of this device, my heart health has gotten better. I recently got an echo done and it’s up to 30 percent, last test was at 25 percent. The device is activating about 85 percent of the time, so we hope it will get better as the heart muscle heals,” said Stoll.
Oza considers the improvement in Stoll’s quality of life and heart function miraculous.
“I fought very hard for this,” Oza said. “Jacksonville is my home. I want to make sure for my friends, and my family and patients, that we have this care.”
Enrollment for the trial program is now open until October 2020. For more information about the wireless technology, call Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside at 904-308-6405.
Feature story written for and published in Jacksonville Magazine. Click here to view the article.