Heart Jump Start

More than five million people in the U.S. suffer from heart failure. It's responsible for more hospitalizations than all forms of cancer combined.

That's just one of the reasons why a new device called a biventricular pacemaker is so exciting to physicians like Dr. Michael Purvis.

"It dramatically improves the patient's quality of life. It also reduces the risk for sudden cardiac death," said Purvis.

Purvis said, before now, patients had to go to some other city to get this type of pacemaker. Two of these procedures have now been performed at Anderson's.

Purvis shared a comparison of how patients' lives are impacted.

"One patient told me he would get out of breath just combing his hair. Now he has no shortness of breath after walking for an extended period of time," said Purvis.

The device, which is placed under the skin, connects three wires to different areas of the heart. It then sends electrical impulses to the heart when needed. That triggers the heart to pump normally and deliver enough blood to meet a patient's needs.

It also will send a shock if the heartbeat speeds to an abnormal and dangerous pace. Purvis said it's the same effect of the paddles you see doctors using in television dramas.

According to statistics, heart failure is the only major cardiac condition that is growing more prevalent.