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Newer heart devices significantly improve survival, complication rate and quality of life
Date:11/17/2009

LOUISVILLE, Ky. A new generation of implanted devices that help a failing heart function properly is significantly more effective than the previous version, making these new devices an appropriate permanent therapy for many of the more than 5 million Americans who suffer from heart failure.

A research team led by a University of Louisville cardiac surgeon published data to support these conclusions in the November 17, 2009 Online First edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. The results were simultaneously presented in a press briefing at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Fla.

"This study shows astounding improvements in survival, quality of life, reduced complications and device durability in patients who had the new device implanted," said Mark Slaughter, M.D., chief of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at the University of Louisville and director of the heart transplant and mechanical assist device program at Jewish Hospital, lead enroller in the trial and lead author on the journal article. "This device should be considered for use in all patients who are eligible for this kind of treatment either while they await heart transplant or as a permanent therapy."

Two hundred patients at 38 centers nationwide were randomly assigned to receive either the newer, smaller continuous-flow left ventricular assist device (LVAD), or a larger, pulsatile-flow LVAD. The newer device creates a continuous flow of blood in and out of the failing heart, while the older device mimics the heart's function using a pulse action with blood alternately sucked into the pump from the left ventricle then forced out into the aorta.

Fifty-eight percent of patients implanted with continuous-flow devices were alive two years after implantation, compared to just 24 percent of those with pulsatile flow devices. Nearly half of all patients who received a continuous-flow LVAD did not have a stroke or re-oper
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Contact: Lauren Shaftel Williams
lauren.williams@louisville.edu
502-852-7461
University of Louisville Health Sciences Center
Source:Eurekalert

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