The University of Iowa campus is hosting an unusual device this week that enables people to feel what it’s like to have heart failure. Doctor Frances Johnson, a cardiology professor at the U-of-I, says people who enter the Heart F-X Pod won’t soon forget the multi-sensory experience.

Johnson says “This is a simulator booth that is equipped with foot pedals and chest straps that exerts a mild rhythmic pressure on the chest while the person pedals and watches a video depicting a scene of someone doing fairly normal levels of exertion, but it feels pretty hard for heart failure patients.”

She says the booth is perfectly safe for people who are in good general health.
Participants have to fill out a five-question survey before using the simulator to make sure people with severe illnesses don’t get into a situation where they might be uncomfortable, and someone will be at the booth to stop it right away if need be.

Johnson says anyone can try out the simulator — there’s no charge and it’s open to the public. Johnson says the simulator teaches a good lesson for health care providers who deal with heart patients and for family members who may not understand the limitations of people who’ve survived heart attacks. The Heart F-X Pod will be in the parking lot of the U-of-I Athletics Hall of Fame on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 AM to 8 P.M. each day.