Thoracic spinal cord stimulation for heart failure as a restorative treatment (SCS HEART study): First-in-man experience

Hung Fat Tse, Stuart Turner, Prashanthan Sanders, Yuji Okuyama, Katsuhito Fujiu, Chi Wai Cheung, Marc Russo, Matthew D S Green, Kai Hang Yiu, Peter Chen, Chika Shuto, Elizabeth O Y Lau, Chung Wah Siu

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67 Citations (Scopus)


Background Preclinical studies suggest that neuromodulation with thoracic spinal cord stimulation (SCS) improves left ventricular (LV) function and remodeling in systolic heart failure (HF). Objective The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a SCS system for the treatment of systolic HF. Methods We performed a prospective, multicenter pilot trial in patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III HF, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) 20%-35%, and implanted defibrillator device who were prescribed stable optimal medical therapy. Dual thoracic SCS leads were used at the T1-T3 level. The device was programmed to provide SCS for 24 hours per day (50 Hz at pulse width 200 μs). Results We enrolled 22 patients from 5 centers:17 patients underwent implantation of a SCS device and 4 patients who did not fulfill the study criteria served as nontreated controls. No deaths or device-device interactions were noted during the 6-month period in the 17 SCS-treated patients. Fifteen of 17 completed the efficacy endpoint assessments: composite score improved by 4.2 ± 1.3, and 11 patients (73%) showed improvement in ≥4 of 6 efficacy parameters. There was significant improvement in NYHA class (3.0 vs 2.1, P =.002; 13/17 improved); Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire (42 ± 26 vs 27 ± 22, P =.026; 12/17 improved); peak maximum oxygen consumption (14.6 ± 3.3 vs 16.5 ± 3.9 mL/kg/min, P =.013; 10/15 improved); LVEF (25% ± 6% vs 37% ± 8%, P <.001; 14/16 improved); and LV end-systolic volume (174 ± 57 vs 137 ± 37 mL, P =.002; 11/16 improved) but not in N-terminal prohormone brain natriuretic peptide. No such improvements were observed in the 4 nontreated patients. Conclusion The results of this first-in-human trial suggest that high thoracic SCS is safe and feasible and potentially can improve symptoms, functional status, and LV function and remodeling in patients with severe, symptomatic systolic HF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588-595
Number of pages8
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Mar 2015


  • Heart failure
  • Spinal cord stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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