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10,000 HeartMate II® Heart Pumps Implanted Worldwide
SAN DIEGO — Sharp Memorial Hospital has played a key role in a milestone event for the treatment of advanced heart failure (AHF) patients. The hospital is part of a global network of medical centers certified to implant the HeartMate II® Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) and as of April 2012, more than 10,000 devices have been implanted worldwide.
The HeartMate II® LVAD is a small implantable mechanical device that helps circulate blood throughout the body. Sometimes called a “heart pump” or “VAD” it is designed to supplement the pumping function of the heart for patients whose hearts are too weak to pump blood adequately on their own. It represents a breakthrough in medical technology and has rapidly become the most widely used device of its kind in the world. HeartMate II® may be used to support patients either while they wait for a donor heart to become available or as a permanent, long-term therapy. In either situation, without the option of an LVAD, AHF patients have poor prospects for survival and significantly limited lifestyles.
“Each year, many people in the San Diego area develop chronic heart failure and several will progress to an advanced, debilitating stage of the disease,” said Dr. Robert Adamson, medical director of cardiac transplant at Sharp Memorial Hospital. “We are proud to play a part in this important milestone, which recognizes the more than 10,000 individuals who have been implanted with HeartMate II®, and are pleased to offer this lifesaving therapy to our community.”
Though transplants offer hope for approximately 2,000 advanced heart failure patients nationwide each year, more than 250,000 patients have no viable treatment option and are considered at high risk for repeated hospitalizations, severely diminished quality of life and limited life expectancy. For the 50,000 to 100,000 patients in the U.S. who do not qualify for transplant, due to age or other co-morbidities such as cancer or multiple-organ failure, or other complications, long-term therapy with HeartMate II® may be an option.
“Sharp Memorial Hospital has performed more than 550 successful implantations of mechanical circulatory support devices since the inception of the program in 1986, including 175 HeartMate II® implants since 2005 and the first ever implantation in California,” said Dr. Walter Dembitsky, medical director of cardiac surgery and mechanical circulatory support at Sharp Memorial Hospital. “This recent milestone marks the successful worldwide use of the HeartMate II® and is a testament to the importance of heart pumps and the number of lives saved because of them.”
Sharp Memorial Hospital remains among select cardiac centers in the nation to offer the state-of-the-art therapy to these advanced heart failure patients for whom there is a critical need. The hospital has become a leader in the industry and is now serving as a training center for other hospitals wishing to start a mechanical circulatory support program.
Sharp Memorial Hospital also played a crucial role in the landmark HeartMate II® Destination Therapy Clinical Trial which enabled the device to receive FDA approval for Destination Therapy, or long-term treatment options, for patients suffering from advanced-stage heart failure who are not eligible for heart transplantation. For patients eligible for a heart transplant, usage of HeartMate II® is known as “Bridge-to-Transplantation” (BTT). Utilization of the device with the intent of permanent, long-term support is known as “Destination Therapy” (DT). The revolutionary device is the first continuous flow chronic LVAD to receive FDA approval for both BTT and DT in the U.S.
After nearly a decade of suffering from heart problems, retired Army Reservist Paul Douglas turned to the expertise of the cardiac team at Sharp Memorial Hospital. Due to an enlarged heart and severe damage to his left ventricle, Paul’s heart rate and ejection rate were down and he was suffering from shortness of breath due to fluid building in his lungs. Dr. Brian Jaski, a Sharp-affiliated interventional cardiologist, suggested that a HeartMate II® Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) might help Paul's heart pump more efficiently while still providing him with the independence to continue his hobbies. Just nine days after having the HeartMate II implanted, Paul, now 45, returned home to his wife and six-year-old son, John. Paul credits the heart pump with saving his life. He is no longer tired, can walk around without shortness of breath and can travel with his family once again.
About Sharp Memorial Hospital
With a tradition of excellence since 1955, Sharp Memorial Hospital is recognized internationally for outstanding programs in emergency and trauma services, surgery, cardiac and vascular care, cancer treatment, rehabilitation, orthopedic and neurological services, women’s health, weight- loss surgery, multi-organ transplantation and home care.
Sharp Memorial completed an expansion in 2009 to become San Diego’s first hospital with all private patient rooms. The new 315,000-square-foot, 334-bed structure, named the Stephen Birch Healthcare Center, is also the first hospital to open in San Diego since 1993.
Sharp Memorial is a MAGNET-designated facility for nursing excellence and a Planetree-designated hospital for patient- and family-centered care. It is part of Sharp HealthCare, the region’s largest health care provider and a 2007 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient.
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