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Innovative LVAD Helps Advanced Heart Failure Patients

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 27 Sep 2017
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Image: The full MagLev HeartMate 3 LVAD system (Photo courtesy of Abbott).
Image: The full MagLev HeartMate 3 LVAD system (Photo courtesy of Abbott).
An advanced left ventricular assist device (LVAD) provides a new option for physicians managing advanced heart failure (HF) patients in need of short-term hemodynamic support.

The Abbott (Abbott Park, IL, USA) HeartMate 3 LVAD is intended to serve as a cardiac support option for advanced bridge-to-transplant HF patients, patients who are not candidates for heart transplantation, or patients in myocardial recovery. The system consists of a magnetically levitated (MagLev) centrifugal-flow pump that is designed to reduce trauma to the blood cells passing through it and improve outcomes. The pump is implanted above the diaphragm, next to the native heart, and is attached to the aorta, thus leaving natural circulation in place.

The HeartMate 3 system can pump up to 10 liters of blood per minute, using magnets keep the rotor in place. The system is calibrated tens of thousands of times per second to ensure it stays suspended and centered within the pump, no matter the speed settings used by a physician, ensuring that the pump is performing effectively. Other features include large, consistent blood flow gaps over a wide range of device operation levels, generating an artificial pulse that further reduces adverse events, including combating the formation of thrombus in the device.

The patient himself wears an external, wearable controller, driveline, and battery system that powers the pump. The system has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), following a clinical study that demonstrated that patients with a HeartMate 3 system had a significant improvement in HF status, an 83% increase in their walk distance, and a 68% improvement in quality of life at six months. Patients receiving HeartMate 3 also had an 86% survival rate with freedom from disabling stroke and reoperation to replace the LVAD pump at six months.

“Heart failure is a crippling and costly disease, and the HeartMate 3 system is a big stride forward in giving patients the opportunity to return to better quality lives,” said Mark Carlson MD, divisional vice president and chief medical officer of Abbott's Cardiac Arrhythmias and Heart Failure business. “Abbott is the pioneer and global leader in LVAD therapy and offers the broadest heart failure portfolio on the market to help physicians manage their patients from early to end-stage heart failure.”

For advanced HF patients who can no longer rely on earlier stage treatment options, an LVAD can help their weakened heart pump blood through the body and provide crucial support as they await further treatment, including heart transplants. For patients who are not candidates for heart transplants or who will live with their device long term, Abbott also offers the HeartMate II, which is indicated for long-term (destination) therapy.


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