HUP becomes first in region to implant a HeartMate II Left Ventricular Assist System into a patient


The next generation heart pump treats end-stage heart disease with a continuous flow of blood rather than the pumping motion of a normal heart

(Philadelphia, PA) - Cardiothoracic surgeons at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) are helping to pave the way for new implantable pump devices to treat end-stage heart disease. As part of a nationwide clinical trial, HUP cardiothoracic surgeons have became the first in the region to implant a HeartMate II Left Ventricular Assist System into a patient for ongoing, permanent support for late-stage heart failure, otherwise known as Destination Therapy. The adult male is now recovering after the procedure done on July 14th.

"Before this procedure, this patient was dying of end-stage heart failure. He reported that his quality-of-life was seriously diminished and his clinical condition suggested that he had only a few more weeks to live," said Mike Acker, MD, Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, "What makes this particular device so unique is that rather than mimicking the actual pumping motion of the heart, it works to put out a continuous flow of blood. And it's only about the size of your thumb. It will require less surgical trauma than other current devices and it can be used in smaller people like women and children."

The HeartMate II device is powered by a rotary pumping mechanism, with one moving part, and weighs only about 14 ounces. It is much smaller and quieter than other currently approved devices. The device is implanted alongside a patient's heart and takes over the job of moving along the blood of the weakened heart's left ventricle. An external controller regulates pump speed and a power cable connects the device to a small monitor and power base unit. It's about 1.8 inches in diameter and 3.2 inches long. It pumps blood from the heart throughout the body at up to 10 liters per minute, the full output of a healthy heart. It's designed for reliable long-term support to improve outcomes and quality of life.

Rohinton Morris, MD, Surgical Director of the Heart Transplant Program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania added, "The axial flow device is a significant addition to the various surgical methods of treating end-stage heart failure. It is a major advance in treatment, and holds high promise for the future."

Thoratec, the maker of the HeartMate II Left Ventricular Assist System, says it's designed to address the need for smaller, long lasting devices in Destination Therapy for patients requiring long-term cardiac support. The clinical study is being held at 27 centers across the nation, including HUP.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
    Published on All rights reserved.