Tiny heart pump helps heart attack, heart failure patients

March 25, 2011, West Virginia University

In 2008, physicians at the West Virginia University Heart Institute became the first in the state to use the Impella left ventricular assist device. Now, they are among the first in the nation to use it in heart attack and heart failure patients.

Initially, the Impella device was used to enable the heart to rest during difficult procedures and to heal and recover during episodes of . In most cases, it was used in scheduled angioplasties and stent placements.

Now, doctors are using that same device in patients who come into the emergency department with severe heart attacks, congestive heart failure and cardiogenic shock, which occurs when the heart is unable to pump as much blood as the body needs.

“It’s a good therapy for people who are having a heart attack because it can take over when the heart is stunned after a heart attack,” Wissam Gharib, M.D., director of the WVU Heart Institute Cardiac Catheterization Lab, said. “It’s also useful in congestive heart failure patients because the device, often employed for only a few hours, can also stay in place for several days if necessary to improve blood flow.”

The Impella works by redirecting blood from the heart, increasing and supporting the patient’s blood circulation. It is inserted by using a catheter into the major artery of the leg.

The device is primarily used in heart attack and patients who are unstable when they arrive at the emergency department. It would not be used in a patient who suffers a small and has stable vital signs.

“The earlier the device is put in, the better chance the patient has to recover,” Dr. Gharib said. “Time saved is muscle saved.”

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Scientists produce human intestinal lining that re-creates living tissue inside organ-chip

February 16, 2018
Investigators have demonstrated how cells of a human intestinal lining created outside an individual's body mirror living tissue when placed inside microengineered Intestine-Chips, opening the door to personalized testing ...

Researcher explains how statistics, neuroscience improve anesthesiology

February 16, 2018
It's intuitive that anesthesia operates in the brain, but the standard protocol among anesthesiologists when monitoring and dosing patients during surgery is to rely on indirect signs of arousal like movement, and changes ...

Team reports progress in pursuit of sickle cell cure

February 16, 2018
Scientists have successfully used gene editing to repair 20 to 40 percent of stem and progenitor cells taken from the peripheral blood of patients with sickle cell disease, according to Rice University bioengineer Gang Bao.

Data wave hits health care

February 16, 2018
Technology used by Facebook, Google and Amazon to turn spoken language into text, recognize faces and target advertising could help doctors fight one of the deadliest infections in American hospitals.

Appetite-controlling molecule could prevent 'rebound' weight gain after dieting

February 15, 2018
Scientists have revealed how mice control their appetite when under stress such as cold temperatures and starvation, according to a new study by Monash University and St Vincent's Institute in Melbourne. The results shed ...

First study of radiation exposure in human gut Organ Chip device offers hope for better radioprotective drugs

February 14, 2018
Chernobyl. Three Mile Island. Fukushima. Accidents at nuclear power plants can potentially cause massive destruction and expose workers and civilians to dangerous levels of radiation that lead to cancerous genetic mutations ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Honor
not rated yet Mar 25, 2011
omg that looks painful.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.