Fridley-based Medtronic will soon launch tests on human patients to see if its spinal cord technology can help people who suffer from heart failure.
Heart failure means the heart muscle is unable to pump effectively to meet the body's need for blood and oxygen.
Dr. Douglas Zipes of the Indiana University School of Medicine will be one of the doctors leading the trial and is encouraged by animal studies that have shown electrical stimulation of the spinal cord can benefit the nerves that go to the heart, improving heart function.
"It makes the heart squeeze better, and it also corrals the wayward electrical impulses that might cause sudden death," Zipes said.
Initially, the clinical trial will involve 50 patients at 15 medical centers in Europe and the U.S. The centers have not yet been selected.