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Small assist device used in emergency case as twin, heart booster pumps for first time in US
Date:11/12/2010

The Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital recently implanted a patient with two of the smallest experimental ventricular assist devices (VADs) currently available for study in humans. VADs are designed to assist either the right (RVAD) or left (LVAD) ventricle, or both (BiVAD) at once. This is the first time that two Heartware VADs have been implanted in the left and right ventricles anywhere in North Americaa "game changer" in the realm of heart assist devices according to Patrick M. McCarthy, MD, chief of the hospital's Division of Cardiac Surgery and director of the hospital's Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.

"The world doesn't need the artificial heart anymore," said Dr. McCarthy, who is also the Heller-Sacks Professor of Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "The goal is total support of the heart. This biventricular approach achieves that without cutting out the patient's own heart, which is what happens with artificial heart implants."

According to Edwin C. McGee, Jr. MD, surgical director for the Bluhm Institute's Heart Transplant and Assist Device program and the lead cardiac surgeon who performed the implant, when the patient, 44-year-old James Armstrong, was transferred to Northwestern Memorial just weeks ago, he was near death with an aggressive state of myocarditis. Myocarditis is a severe inflammation of the heart tissue thatin some rare casescan be fatal when unaddressed.

Only about a dozen times before in Europe had the twin implant of the small Heartware VAD been performed, and now the approach would be Armstrong's best chances for survival. The Heartware VAD is under trial in the U.S. as an LVAD. Mr. Armstrong did not qualify for the current trial and was able to have the device implanted under a process known as "emergency use". Emergency use is defined as the use of an investigational article with a human subject in a life-threatening situation. Although such use
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Contact: Kris Lathan
klathan@nmh.org
312-926-2963
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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