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Implantable Pump Helps the Failing Heart

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 14 Jul 2014
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Image: The HeartAssist5 ventricular assist device (Photo courtesy of ReliantHeart).
Image: The HeartAssist5 ventricular assist device (Photo courtesy of ReliantHeart).
A next generation ventricular assist device (VAD) offers natural human pulse circulation support to the weakened heart.

The HeartAssist5 VAD, which weighs just 92 grams, can support patients ranging from large adults to pediatric patients as small as 18 kg, providing a smooth, gentle blood flow from 2–10 L/min. Due to its small size, the device be implanted beside the heart, above the diaphragm, usually obviating the need to create a surgical pocket. As a result, the implantation procedure is safer, less complicated, and recovery time is reduced. The smaller size can also help to avoid many of the complications that contribute to blood sheer caused by non-human surface contact, and by the stresses caused by cavitation as blood flows through larger devices.

The only moving part of the device is the inducer/impeller, which has a major impact on blood-handling characteristics. Together with flow straightener and diffuser, the HeartAssist5 draws blood more smoothly, resulting in less damage to fragile components, including less platelet activation, which ultimately means patients require less anticoagulation medication. An implantable ultrasonic flow probe positioned on the outflow graft provides FlowAccurate diagnostics of the volume and fluidity of blood flow. Changes to this data can indicate problems ranging from minor dehydration to more significant events, alerting technicians as to early intervention.

HeartAssist5 includes the HeartAssistRemote Monitoring System, which continuously receives and transmits patient data via the vadlink.com website to expert clinicians. The data can be viewed remotely, avoiding unnecessary trips to the hospital. The data is also available via HeartAttendant, an all-in-one portable in-hospital console for the HeartAssist5. The HeartAttendant shows real time blood flow data, and transmits flow and other related data via secure wireless internet for remote home monitoring via computers or smartphones.

When discharged from the hospital, the Conquest Controller provides transmission of real-time remote HeartAssist5 data. The small controller fits in the pocket and transmits blood flow and related data via a secure wireless 3G cellular internet connection for remote monitoring. The HeartAssist5, HeartAttendant, and Conquest Controller are products of ReliantHeart (Houston, TX, USA), and have received the European Community CE marking of approval.

“If a patient’s pump has any sign of a challenge, like dehydration or low flow, the remote monitoring system signals the change to a data-collection center that notifies the transplant center as well as the individual,” said Rodger Ford, CEO of ReliantHeart. “This is what makes the HeartAssist5 unique; at the first sign of a problem the right people are notified immediately.”

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