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New Heart Pump Helps Women Awaiting Transplants
Date:11/4/2007

earchers said.

Several study participants regained enough pumping power in the heart to have the device removed and no longer needed a transplant. And they've resumed normal physical activities, said the study authors, who are affiliated with such research centers as the Texas Heart Institute in Houston; the University of Rochester in New York; Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore; Duke University, in Durham, N.C.; and Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston.

Among the study's other findings:

  • Six-month survival was about the same for men and women -- 80.6 percent versus 79.5 percent.
  • The study found that 3.3 percent of women and 2.2 percent of men experienced strokes within two days of surgery; 13.6 percent of women and 4 percent of men experienced strokes after that.
  • After three months with the device, 76 percent of women and 57 percent of men had increased the distance they could walk in six minutes by more than 200 meters. "Functionally, it helped women more than men," Steinbaum said.
  • At the beginning of the study, all patients had Class IV heart failure, meaning they couldn't engage in any physical activity without discomfort. After three months with the device, 84 percent of women and men had only Class I and Class II heart failure symptoms -- no or slight limitations on physical activity. "Eighty-four percent of men and women went from Class IV heart failure -- they couldn't even move without being short of breath -- to Class I and II," Steinbaum said. "It's very exciting."

The trial was funded by Thoratec Corp. of Pleasanton, Calif., which manufactures the device. One of the study authors is the company's vice president for research and scientific affairs. The other study authors are consultants and serve on a Thoratec advisory board.

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