Aims Device-based pacing-induced diaphragmatic stimulation (PIDS) may have therapeutic potential for chronic heart failure (HF) patients. We studied the effects of PIDS on cardiac function and functional outcomes. Methods and results In 24 chronic HF patients with CRT, an additional electrode was attached to the left diaphragm. Randomized into two groups, patients received the following PIDS modes for 3weeks in a different sequence: (i) PIDS off (control group); (ii) PIDS 0ms mode (PIDS simultaneously with ventricular CRT pulse); or (iii) PIDS optimized mode (PIDS with optimized delay to ventricular CRT pulse). For PIDS optimization, acoustic cardiography was used. Effects of each PIDS mode on dyspnoea, power during exercise testing, and LVEF were assessed. Dyspnoea improved with the PIDS 0ms mode (P=0.057) and the PIDS optimized mode (P=0.034) as compared with the control group. Maximal power increased from median 100.5W in the control group to 104.0W in the PIDS 0ms mode (P=0.092) and 109.5W in the PIDS optimized mode (P=0.022). Median LVEF was 33.5% in the control group, 33.0% in the PIDS 0ms mode, and 37.0% in the PIDS optimized mode (P=0.763 and P=0.009 as compared with the control group, respectively). PIDS was asymptomatic in all patients. Conclusion PIDS improves dyspnoea, working capacity, and LVEF in chronic HF patients over a 3 week period in addition to CRT. This pilot study demonstrates proof of principle of an innovative technology which should be confirmed in a larger sample. Trial registration NCT00769678.
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