Machine Reduces Fluid Retention in Heart Patients

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"Well I've got heart failure and my fluids build up."

For years patients like Paul Hurt, who suffer from congestive heart failure, were limited in their treatment options. Now there is hope for them.

Dr. Melissa Walton Shirley, with TJ Samson Community Hospital in Glasgow, says: "This is an Aquadex machine. It performs ultra filtration."

The machine works like an IV by pulling the blood from the body then separating the fluid.

Dr. Walton Shirley says: "We can actually these patients for a slow rate of three days and we can drop 15 pounds of fluid off and remove 15 liters of fluid that could not be effectively removed with a diuretic."

Hurt says: "They drawed 17 1/2 pounds of fluid the other day and it makes you feel a whole lot better."

The fluid can cause painful swelling in the patient’s limbs and make sleeping difficult.

Hurt says: "I couldn't lay down on my back, or when I laid down I'd smother and I'd get my blanket and go out on the porch."

Dr. Walton Shirley says: "Now that we have the aquapheresis, patients that had to sit in a chair to sleep, that can't walk, that can't even go to the mailbox or bathroom without help, can now look forward into getting back into their usual activities."

For Paul Hurt that means fishing.

Hurt says: "I went the other day and I caught one. The man who went with me didn't catch nothing!"

The Aquadex machine is only available at TJ Samson and at the University of Kentucky hospital. According to Dr. Walton Shirley, it is a reasonably priced machine that is a valuable toll in making patients more comfortable.