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Sutter Medical Center Receives Certification to Use Ventricular Assist Devices as Destination Therapy
Date:11/10/2009

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The Joint Commission has awarded Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento the Ventricular Assist Device/Destination Therapy certification, allowing the Sacramento region's only heart transplant program to implant left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) as permanent therapy and not just as bridges to transplant.

Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento is the only hospital in Northern California to have this certification. Two hospitals in the Bay Area had the certification, but were decertified earlier this year.

The VAD certification comes on the heels of the recertification of Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento's Heart Transplant Program. It is the only hospital to provide heart transplants in Northern California outside of the Bay Area.

Destination therapy is an alternative to transplantation for patients with end-stage heart failure who do not qualify or are ineligible for heart transplant. By implanting a long-term VAD, patients who are not candidates for a heart transplant have the opportunity to live more independently with a longer and higher-quality life.

Heart failure patients throughout California, southern Oregon and western Nevada who qualify for an LVAD as destination therapy would be implanted at Sutter Medical Center's Sutter Memorial Hospital campus in east Sacramento. The LVAD, which performs the pumping for the heart, is implanted into the abdomen, allowing patients to pursue their regular daily activities.

"Heart failure patients now have another viable option to extend and improve the quality of their lives through the use of the LVAD as destination therapy," said Robert Kincade, M.D., medical director of the VAD Program at the Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute. "With this certification, Sutter Medical Center provides the most comprehensive and extensive cardiac services in Northern California."

Twenty-one patients have been implanted with LVADs as bridges to transplant since the Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute began its VAD program two years ago. Nine of those patients have since received heart transplants.

Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento houses the Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute. Through rapid diagnosis, complex surgeries, non-surgical interventions and one of the most extensive research programs in the region, Sutter Heart & Vascular Institute maintains its tradition of excellence in care for infants, children and adults. Its Web site is www.suttermedicalcenter.org.

    CONTACT:   Gary Zavoral
               (916) 454-6825

SOURCE Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento


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SOURCE Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento
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