CVRx Patient Education Model

Outsmart heart failure treatment

The Challenge:

This client reached out to Pulse because they were struggling to familiarize patients with their device’s function. Our client’s device is called a Barostim: an implantable pulse generator (IPG) that electrically stimulates carotid baroreceptors (sensory receptors in the neck), triggering an autonomic response to “rebalance” neural input to the cardiovascular system. Patients often confuse this with a pacemaker, but a Barostim is a new option for the 70% of heart failure patients that are not indicated for Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT)/pacemakers. The key difference is that Barostim has no implanted lead on or near the heart. This client had an especially hard ask because the Barostim’s function is electronic and cannot be seen. Additionally there is nothing existing like this that patients can relate the solution to, it is truely a novel approach. We determined a well-designed patient education model can help patients visualize how the device works.   


Model Design:  

Pulse designed two models for this project: one model for the sales rep to take on the road and show clinicians, and a second model made to place in vascular surgeon’s offices for patient education. Both designs include a life-size replica of the IPG and the lead. The rep kit includes a carotid artery model to facilitate discussion on lead placement with clinicians. The lead, IPG, and carotid artery are in a small box with CVRx branding on the outside and an illustration of the device within the body on the inside of the box lid. The patient education model is a stand that holds the IPG and lead replica. On the front of the stand is an illustration that shows lead and IPG placement. 


Model Development:  

Although the IPG replica did not need to function, it needed to look and feel like the real product. We added weight to make the lightweight plastic feel like metal and convey a sense of quality and permanence to the replica.   


The 1st round of models was made for the sales reps with prototyping materials. The production of these was a small quantity. As the procedure was adopted by more clinicians, the quantity requirements increased.  The 2nd round required production injection molds to accommodate a higher volume. Pulse MDM transferred the project to China and new tooling was produced for the IPG, lead, and stand.   


Model Solution:  

The patient model is clean and professional, reflecting well on the CVRx brand. The illustration on the front includes an arrow pointing from the carotid baroreceptors in the neck to the brain and another arrow from the brain to the heart to show the baroreflex activation path. The client supplied a brilliant illustration.  The most important communication point is that the IPG treats heart failure but does not come near the heart. There are no leads in the heart or on the heart vasculature, just a soft lead that runs up the carotid. The back of the model includes important metrics on heart failure symptoms and improvements the patient can expect from the procedure. Pulse ended up creating both a small portable model for reps, in addition to a patient model. Every model is always made to serve the person who will experience it. The patient model was geared at mitigating fears and showing a patient what the device would look/act like in their body. The sales rep model was more so geared toward medical professionals who have greater knowledge about the medical side of the device.  


Procedure Overview: 

When medication is not working and medical professionals are suggesting a heart transplant as the only solution, baroreflex activation may be able to help. It’s a neuro device for patients with heart failure. During heart failure, the brain starts working a lot harder to make sure the heart can sustain its body. When this happens, the heart goes into overdrive and will eventually quit. Baroreflex is proven to help delay procedures like heart transplants. It’s an outpatient procedure completed by vascular surgeons, so patients arrive in the morning and usually leave in the evening. The monitor is put in place and checked, but it does not require significant surgery.  


This custom model is not available for sale to the public. BUT, we can make you a version that is specific to your unique medical device and procedure. Please use this link to start the process of receiving a free model concept.