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Henry Ford Hospital: New left-side heart pump improves right-side heart function
Date:5/27/2010

A state-of-the-art heart pump, designed to maintain a continuous flow of blood in end-stage cardiac patients with damage to the left side of the heart, also improves function on the right side of the heart, according to researchers at Henry Ford Hospital's Heart and Vascular Institute.

"Very little has been published regarding the ability of continuous flow pumps to have similar effects on the right ventricle," says study lead author Jeffrey Morgan, M.D., director of Cardiac Surgery Research at Henry Ford Hospital. "So we set out to evaluate its short-term and mid-term effects on central venous pressure and pulmonary artery pressures, on the severity of tricuspid regurgitation, as well as on the functioning of the right ventricle."

The study will be presented May 27 at the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs in Baltimore.

The pump, a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) known as the HeartMate II, was developed by Thoratec Corporation. LVADs are used to treat patients who are not candidates for heart transplant, and offer the advantage of being replaceable.

When implanted just below the heart and connected to a patient's diseased left ventricle the heart chamber that pumps blood into the body through the aorta it provides a constant, rather than a pulsing, flow. The only moving part in the HeartMate II is a tiny turbine with synthetic ruby bearings, lubricated by the blood itself. It's powered by a battery pack worn outside the body and connected by wires through the chest wall.

An earlier version of the device, which was larger and more complicated, was designed to mimic the heart's natural pulsing, but its size and the intricacies of its mechanism called for a simpler, smaller device that could also be used in more and physically smaller heart patients. Those implanted with the newer device have virtually no pulse because of the continuous blood flow.

Earlier studies showed that the pulsing
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Contact: Dwight Angell
dwight.angell@hfhs.org
313-876-8709
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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