Health Care

Barostim at AdventHealth Zephyrhills Gives Veteran a New Lease on Life

Robert Messer holds Barostim Prototype

Robert Messner, an Air Force veteran with an extraordinary background including early drone development, and civil engineering missile technology, has experienced a miraculous turnaround in his health, thanks to the groundbreaking Barostim technology. This cutting-edge medical innovation helps greatly improve blood pressure and can give a new lease on life to those suffering from heart conditions, like Mr. Messner.

ABC Action News | Good Morning Tampa Bay | Veteran receives Barostim Procedure at AdventHealth Zephyrhills

In 2013, Messner's life took an unexpected turn when he endured a staggering eight cardiac arrests in 14 hours. His resilience and a life vest that resuscitated him five times kept him alive until surgeons implanted a pacemaker/defibrillator. For several years, he managed to lead a relatively normal life, until he collapsed due to a 100% blockage in his heart. Thanks to his implantable defibrillator, he reached the hospital in time.

Following a life-saving procedure to clear the blockage, Mr. Messner faced an uphill battle to regain his health and activity. He was left with only 20 percent heart function, leaving him with questions about his future. His doctors, Cardiologist Dr. Vladimir Curkovic, and Surgeon Dr. Paul Citrin, with the AdventHealth Cardiovascular Institute West Florida were unsure if there was a way he could improve his condition, but they refused to give up on him. A glimmer of hope emerged when they introduced him to the Barostim.

On April 7, 2023, Mr. Messner had the Barostim implanted at AdventHealth Zephyrhills. Within three days of the procedure, he was able to walk around the block, a feat that was unimaginable before. Today, he walks three to four miles a day, tends to his flower garden, and enjoys going for drives.

Barostim combines seamlessly with existing pacemakers to enhance the overall well-being of heart patients. Its unique ability to regulate and optimize blood pressure means a patient can increase their daily activity. Treatments like this are so important with an aging veteran population that also, according to studies, has a greater risk of heart disease compared to non-veterans.

"It's the only reason I'm still alive, if you ask me," Mr. Messer said.

The remarkable recovery he has experienced is a testament to the potential of Barostim to transform the lives of individuals with heart conditions.