Surgeons at University of Utah Hospital have performed the hospital's first implant of a new-generation left ventricular assist device (LVAD) using the HeartWare HVAD. The tiny, partial artificial heart device is being used as part of a national research study for patients with advanced heart failure who are not candidates for heart transplantation.
"We're excited to be a part of this study," says Craig H. Selzman, M.D., surgical director of University of Utah Health Care's Cardiac Mechanical Support and Heart Transplantation Program. "This device allows us to perform a potentially lifesaving procedure for often desperately ill patients with end-stage heart disease. The HeartWare pump is smaller than many other heart pumps and has potentially improved blood handling characteristics that fuel our enthusiasm for this technology."
The newer LVAD allows blood to be taken from a heart that is unable to pump and provide blood flow to starving organs, ultimately allowing patients to live longer and with a dramatically improved quality of life, according to Selzman, associate professor of cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Utah.
The HeartWare pump is smaller than many other heart pumps.It has only one moving part and is suspended by magnets and a hydrodynamic thrust bearing. This means the device may last longer and result in reduced risk of physical damage to blood cells as they pass through the pump.
University Hospital's first patient to receive the LVAD had the surgery late last week and is recovering well.
University Hospital is one of 40 facilities in the country participating in the study of the HeartWare LVAD, and one of two institutions in Utah taking part in the investigation.
University Hospital's heart transplant program is recognized as a leader both regionally and nationally.
The consortium of physicians and surgeons has created one of the most comprehensive heart failure programs in the country. In addition to the increasing number of LVADs and transplants being performed, U of U physicians are funded by the National Institutes of Health to study basic mechanisms of heart failure and recovery as well as leading translational studies of innovative therapies for these patients.
In particular, with regard to mechanical circulatory support and artificial heart technology, the U of U is the most active center in the region. In addition to the HeartWare trial, U of U is the only center in the region involved in other investigational device therapy, including the following:
•HeartMate II is now FDA-approved for both bridge to transplant as well as destination therapy. It is routinely used by the University Hospital heart transplant team.
•University Hospital is one of the lead centers in the country for implantation of the miniaturized Jarvik 2000 LVAD. The U of U team has pioneered minimally invasive, off-pump approaches to the insertion of this device.
•University Hospital is the second center in the country and third in the world to implant the Levacor centrifugal pump.
•The U of U is a lead enroller in the Levitronix trial evaluating the use of the CentriMag device for short-tem mechanical support.
Heart failure is a common condition, affecting about 5.7 million people in the United States each year and resulting in about 300,000 deaths annually. University of Utah Health Care's multidisciplinary heart transplant team is committed to the best and most comprehensive care available for these extremely ill patients.
University of Utah Health Care