Health Professionals Feel Heart Failure

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

April 7, 2006

Five million people are living with heart failure in the United States and half a million more are diagnosed every year. Many people have heart failure and don't even know it because it is misdiagnosed.

New Technology helps the medical world know how heart failure fees so that they can better diagnose and treat it. In just five minutes a person can find out what it feels like to have heart failure in the Heart FX Pod, which simulates what heart failure feels like.

"Definitely shortness of breath, it's getting harder to peddle, the chest is compressing a little bit. It's definitely harder to breathe," said Newsplex employee Nathan Sulham who sat in the Heart FX Pod.

It's an educational tool for people in the medical world so they can feel what their patients are feeling.

"More empathy for our patients and sort of realize their day-to-day struggles that they go through living with this disease," said UVA Nurse Practitioner Ann Rossi.

Doctors and nurses will actually talk a walk through the park in someone else's shoes. There is resistance on the pedals and a vest that tightens on your chest.

"You feel breathlessness. You feel tightness and constriction in your test. They actually simulate your heart beat into your head and you can feel what people with heart failure are going through on a daily basis, just with normal exertion," said Rossi.

The simulation should make health practitioners connected to the side effects and more accurately diagnose it.

"High blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, those are some risk factors for heart failure. And sometimes if they are addressed earlier rather than later, some of the further progression of heart failure can be alleviated," said Rossi.

The FX Pod doesn't just stay here in Charlottesville--it actually travels around the country educating the medical world.

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