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Artificial pump effectively backs up failing hearts
Date:4/2/2009

Patients with severe heart failure can be bridged to eventual transplant by a new, smaller and lighter implantable heart pump, according to a just-completed study of the device. Results of this third-generation heart assist device were reported at the 58th annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology on March 30.

The device, called a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), is the latest generation of heart assist devices. The LVAD was tested at five main sites: Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the University of Minnesota, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Inova Fairfax Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh.

"LVADs have allowed us to support patients until they can receive a heart transplant, so they are called a bridge to transplant," says Gregory Ewald, M.D., a Washington University cardiologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and medical director of the Heart Failure, Cardiac Transplantation and Total Artificial Heart Program. "For patients whose hearts are failing and are awaiting transplantation, these devices can be lifesavers. Washington University is the only medical center in the region where patients can receive these devices at this time."

In addition to Ewald, associate professor of medicine, lead investigators in the trial included Nader Moazami, M.D., associate professor of surgery and surgical director of the Cardiac Transplantation and Total Artificial Heart Program at Washington University, and Andrew Boyle, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota and medical director of Heart Failure, Cardiac Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support. Boyle presented the findings at the ACC meeting.

An LVAD is implanted inside the chest cavity near the heart and is connected to the heart's left ventricle (pumping chamber). It assists the patient's weakened or damaged ventricle in pumping blood through the body. By restoring a normal blood flow, the device improves p
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Contact: Gwen Ericson
ericsong@wustl.edu
314-286-0141
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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