New technology heart pumps

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 49, No. 9, November 2007, Page 507 News

Cardiac specialists from the heart centre, part of the Providence Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul’s Hospital, are the first in North America to successfully perform two breakthrough heart-pump implants in patients with failing hearts using new-generation ventricular assist devices (VADs).

The small but powerful heart pumps, no heavier than a few grams, are intended as short-term relief for patients with declining heart function or following surgery. 

The two procedures were performed about a week apart in mid-August, marking the first time outside of Europe the devices have been used and saving the lives of both patients, whose heart function had reached critically low levels.
Dr Anson Cheung, surgical director of Cardiac Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Assist Device of BC, performed the procedures, assisted in the first case by cardiologists Drs Ron Carere and Eve Aymong.

The devices, known by the trade name Impella, can pump as much as 5.5 L of blood per minute, the equivalent of a healthy heart. They can sustain patients from a few hours to 10 days, until their heart has recovered or is strong enough to be transferred to another means of support.

The devices do not replace the much larger, long-term VADs, which use technology both inside and outside the body to maintain blood circulation and enable patients to go home with the device for up to a year or more.

. New technology heart pumps. BCMJ, Vol. 49, No. 9, November, 2007, Page(s) 507 - News.

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