New Device Improves Care For Patients With End-Stage Heart Failure

The Northwell LVAD Team (Photos courtesy of Northwell Health)

The Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) is the first on Long Island to implant the newest generation of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) that provides full heart support for people with advanced heart failure.

The new LVAD system, known as the HeartMate 3, is a mechanical circulatory pump that is implanted into patients who have severe heart failure to help the weakened left ventricle (the major pumping chamber of the heart) pump blood throughout the body.

The patient also wears an external cord attached to a rechargeable power pack.

The HeartMate 3 system, developed by Abbott in Abbott Park, IL, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration this year. The new technology includes a device designed to reduce the need for a potential pump replacement by decreasing the risk of a clot developing in the pump.

“The main benefit observed with this pump is that it has no reported incidents of pump thrombosis, which occurs in up 15 percent of older generation devices,” said Brian Lima, MD, director of heart transplantation surgery at the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital.

“The HeartMate 3 provides advanced heart failure patients a bridge to eventual heart transplantation or recovery.”

The new device

Approximately 5.7 million people in the United States suffer from heart failure and approximately 915,000 patients are diagnosed with the disease each year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Northwell Health hospitals collectively treat more heart failure patients than any health system in New York State.

Over the past three years, Northwell facilities hospitalized nearly 21,000 heart failure patients—14 percent of the statewide total.

“In our second year, NSUH’s advanced heart failure program offers patients the full spectrum of treatments to make their lives better,” said Harold Fernandez, MD, surgical director of Northwell’s Advanced Heart Failure Program and chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore. “We are very excited to add HeartMate 3 as the latest generation assist device to help patients. The device is much smaller, more efficient and probably more durable than its second generation counterpart.

“We are hoping that this addition to the full range of therapies we provide for our patients will allow us to improve the care we deliver so that they may return to their families and their communities much sooner,” Dr. Fernandez said.

U.S. approval of the HeartMate 3 system was supported by the Momentum 3 clinical study. Dr. Lima and David Majure, MD, medical director of the mechanical support program at the Heart Hospital, were among the principal investigators involved in the research and development of this novel technology.

“Based on my experience in the MOMENTUM trial, which compared the older HeartMate II to the HeartMate 3, our team is thrilled to bring this technology to our patients in Long Island and Queens,” said Dr. Majure. “The reduction in complications with the HeartMate 3 is impressive and will translate into decreased hospitalizations for our patients and more time getting back to life.”

The Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital received approval in June to open a heart transplant center, the first time the state expanded the number of heart transplant programs in 20 years. The hospital expects to list its first patient for heart transplantation in the coming weeks.

“With the newest advanced assist device available for heart failure patients and plans to expand our LVAD program, our strategy to develop heart transplant surgery on Long Island is highly coordinated,” Dr. Lima said. “We will provide the best possible treatment options for our advanced heart failure patients and their families.”

—Submitted by Northwell Health

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