NYU Langone establishes new LVAD Program for patients with advanced heart failure

The Cardiac & Vascular Institute at NYU Langone Medical Center has established its new LVAD Program. This surgical intervention program offers eligible, advanced heart failure patients implantation of the latest, lifesaving tool - a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). NYU Langone offers the only FDA approved LVAD device for advanced heart failure.

"NYU Langone is expanding its heart failure treatments to offer state-of-the art LVAD technology, an important new tool in our arsenal to battle advanced heart failure," said Leora Balsam, MD, surgical director of the LVAD Program and assistant professor, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. "Here on the front lines of cardiovascular care at the Medical Center we now have the surgical capabilities to offer a scientifically proven therapy that can dramatically increase the length and quality of life of our patients that need it most. "

Advanced heart failure is the heart's inability to pump enough blood to meet the demands of the body. The condition causes patients to experience severe fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, decreased mobility and extreme build up of fluids in the body leading to hospital admissions, reduced quality of life and increased mortality. There are approximately 200,000 people living with advanced heart failure in the United States but only 2,000 heart transplants available each year. Many advanced heart failure patients are not eligible for transplant due to the presence of other diseases or co-morbidities.

The new LVAD Program is focused on offering LVAD technology to advanced heart failure patients for long-term use (Destination Therapy) to increase life expectancy and quality of life of those patients who are not candidates for a heart transplant. During the past few months, several patients have successfully received LVADs at NYU Langone. The device can also be used for advanced heart failure patients awaiting heart transplant (Bridge-to-Transplant).

LVAD technology helps the patient's heart pump blood continuously through the heart and the rest of the body, improving patient survival. Research studies show LVAD technology can potentially increase patient survival sometimes more than 5 years. It is implanted during a 6-hour open-heart surgery and is placed under the skin of the upper abdomen while two tubes are surgically connected individually to the heart's left ventricle and the aorta. The device pumps blood away from the left ventricle of the heart and to the aorta. The LVAD is powered by an external control system and battery pack worn by the patient.

Candidates for LVAD implantation are those adult patients with life-limiting disease due primarily to advanced heart failure from isolated left ventricular malfunction. The device requires that the right side of the patient's heart be healthy enough to work in harmony with the newly assisted pumping function of the left ventricle. There is no patient age-limit.

"LVAD technology has potentially life-altering benefits for heart failure patients," said Alex Reyentovich, MD, medical director of the LVAD Program in the Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology at NYU Langone. "It is tremendously rewarding to improve and extend the life of patients so they can experience life's milestones. LVAD technology is not only a milestone for our patients but also our multi-disciplinary Heart Failure team."


NYU Langone Medical Center



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