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Utah-made ventricular assist device gives Idaho man chance to resume an active life
Date:4/8/2010

s that wear out and can damage blood. Potentially, the Levacor VAD could last years longer than other blood pumps.

Although the current clinical trial is evaluating the Levacor VAD as a bridge to transplant, the device is expected to be evaluated next as an alternative to heart transplant and may one day serve as a bridge to heart recovery, according to Selzman. Under this premise, an VAD designed to be efficient, durable and that is gentle to blood could take over for a failing heart long enough for the muscle to strengthen on its own or through the help of drugs or other therapies such as autologous stem cell transplants.

The University currently is conducting such a stem cell trial, in which a patient's own stem cells are harvested, purified, and then injected into a diseased heart to help grow healthy cells. But the only way many patients' hearts could repair themselves would be through an extended period of rest provided by a long-lasting VAD.

"We're still in the early stages of clinical testing with the Levacor VAD, so there's much work ahead of us. But the potential for using this device as a bridge to recovery is there," Selzman said. "This is the kind of technology and medicine that a major academic medical system such as University of Utah Health Care is ideally suited for investigating."

University Hospital is the second center in the country to implant the device into a patient. The first three patients received their implants at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City earlier this year.


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Contact: Chris Nelson
christopher.nelson@hsc.utah.edu
801-581-7387
University of Utah Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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