World’s first new DeBakey heart assist device implanted successfully

August 18th, 2009 - 12:43 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Aug 18 (ANI): In a revolutionary surgery, cardiac surgeons at Heidelberg University Hospital for the first time implanted the HeartAssist 5 ventricular assist device, the modern version of the DeBakey VAD in July this year.

The device augments the pumping function of the left ventricle in an especially effective, gentle, and quiet manner.

The pump weighs 92 grams, and is made of titanium and plastic. It pumps blood from the weakened or failed left ventricle into the aorta.

New heart device is the smallest and lightest of all approved Ventricular Assist Devices in Europe

Professor Dr. Matthias Karck, Director of the Department of Cardiac Surgery at Heidelberg, who headed the surgery, said: “Following the 3.5 hour surgery, the patient is doing fine.”

The 50-year-old woman suffered from heart failure that could not be effectively treated with medication.

Since a heart transplant was not an option due to medical reasons, the implanted heart pump will now assist her heart permanently.

“The heart pump can also be used as a bridge-to-transplant while the patient waits for a matching donor heart,” says Dr. Arjang Ruhparwar, senior registrar in the Department of Cardiac Surgery in Heidelberg.

When a donor heart becomes available, the pump and the diseased heart are both removed and replaced by the new donor heart.

The DeBakey VAD was first developed in the 1990s in cooperation with NASA by Professor Michael DeBakey, the renowned American cardiac surgeon at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who died in 2008 at the age of 99.

The modern version of the device, the HeartAssist 5, is manufactured by US company MicroMed Cardiovascular and is considered to be a fifth generation VAD because it can be implanted adjacent to the heart and has an exclusive flow probe that provides direct, accurate measurement of blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta.

The new miniature device is light, easy-to-handle and can be monitored and controlled externally.

“The new device has great advantages - at only 92 g, it is the smallest and lightest approved VAD in Europe that can completely replace the function of the left ventricle and it works very quietly and effectively with a high flow coefficient,” said Karck.

Thus, patients are able to live a nearly normal life at home. (ANI)

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