GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Heart failure impacts nearly six and a half million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but getting the proper treatment is critical to living longer.

A cardiologist showed new technology being used to treat some of the most severe cases of heart failure in this week’s “Ask the Expert” in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis.

Heart failure happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to support other organs in your body.

Dr. Jeffrey Senfield, a cardiologist at Bon Secours Saint Francis described some of the symptoms of heart failure.

He said, “You’d have symptoms such as shortness of breath or leg swelling, you know, lethargy, and that can lead to physical disability.”

By 2030, the American Heart Association estimates more than 8 million people in the United States, so one in every 33, will have heart failure.

Dr. Senfield said sometimes the medications prescribed to treat heart failure are not successful.

“Some people, even despite taking appropriate dosage, the dosages of their medicines, still struggle with the symptoms of heart failure,” said Dr. Senfield.

A new device is helping patients experiencing heart failure live more comfortably.

“This device is called the CCM device, which stands for cardiac contractility modulation. So, it is a pacemaker-like device. Although, it is not a pacemaker, because it doesn’t actually pace the heart,” said Dr. Senfield.

Here’s how it works…

“There are two leads that are connected inside of this device. You would implant under the skin right about here or on this side of the chest as well. And the leads will go into a vein that goes into the heart and we put two leads into the lower chamber of the heart that delivers the high voltage impulses to hopefully increase the heart function,” said Dr. Senfield.

Dr. Senfield said some patients, who were once bedridden, are returning to their daily activities with this new technology.

He said, “There’s been three or four high-quality clinical trials, and it’s gained FDA approval, and the trials have demonstrated about an 80% response rate.”

Dr. Senfield said this device is a complement to the large volume of care that a person would receive for heart failure. He says it’s always important for patients to also eat healthy, reduce sodium intake, and take any prescribed medications.

To submit a health topic for our ‘Ask the Expert’ series, click here.