ANN ARBOR, Mich. A new generation of implanted heart-assisting pump does very well at helping severely ill heart-failure patients survive, and thrive, until they receive a heart transplant, a new study shows.
And, in addition to helping 75 percent of patients stay alive for at least six months or until a donor heart became available, the device also helped patients original hearts regain function and allowed their other organs to heal by restoring blood flow. One patient recovered so fully that a transplant was no longer needed. Patients quality of life also improved significantly.
The study results are published in the August 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine by a team co-led by a University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center surgeon and a Washington Hospital Center cardiologist.
The experimental device is called the HeartMate II® left ventricular assist device or LVAD. It is one of four in a new generation of heart-assisting implants that push the blood out of the heart in a continuous flow, rather than a pulsing flow approach used in older devices already on the market.
It is also much smaller than the older devices about the size of a D-cell battery - giving it the potential to help more women, teenagers and smaller men with end-stage heart failure whose bodies arent big enough for other devices. Its also quieter and has a smaller tube leading into the implanted device from the controller and battery pack that are worn outside the body.
The study was designed and funded by Thoratec Corporation, which makes the HeartMate II and a larger HeartMate LVAD that is already on the market, but the studys authors had independent access to the study data to prepare their analysis.
Although the study did not directly compare the HeartMate II device with any other device, the results give further evidence that the new device is more reliable than previous heart-assisting implants. In fa
|Contact: Kara Gavin|
University of Michigan Health System