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Magnetic Heart Pump Helps Heart Failure Patients

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 31 Oct 2018
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Image: The MagLev HeartMate 3 LVAD system (Photo courtesy of Abbott).
Image: The MagLev HeartMate 3 LVAD system (Photo courtesy of Abbott).
An innovative left ventricular assist device (LVAD) can help advanced heart failure (HF) patients who are not eligible for heart transplants enjoy a better quality of life for the rest of their days.

The Abbott (Abbott Park, IL, USA) HeartMate 3 consists of a magnetically levitated (MagLev) centrifugal-flow pump implanted above the diaphragm, next to the native heart; the pump is attached to the aorta, thus leaving natural circulation in place. The system can pump up to 10 liters of blood per minute, using magnets keep the rotor in place, reducing trauma to blood cells passing through the pump while improving flow. The pump also adds consistently timed flow gaps in order to generate an artificial pulse which further reduces adverse events, including combating the formation of thrombii.

The MagLev 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. The patient himself wears an external, wearable controller, the system driveline, and a battery that powers the pump. Recent clinical data shows that patients implanted with the Abbot HeartMate 3 LVAD enjoyed a survival rate of 82.8% at two years follow-up, and that rates of suspected pump thrombosis were just 1.1% at two years.

“We partner with physicians to holistically develop therapies that benefit patients and achieve better outcomes,” said Mike Pederson, senior vice president of Abbott's Cardiac Arrhythmias and HF business. “The unique design of the HeartMate 3 LVAD, with its full MagLev technology, takes an established innovation and improves upon it in meaningful ways to help people with advanced heart failure live fuller lives.”

“Approximately a quarter of a million people are living with advanced heart failure, and many of these people will need a heart transplant; however, only a few thousand will receive a new heart,” said Nir Uriel, MD, of the University of Chicago Medicine (IL, USA). “Destination therapy approval for Abbott's HeartMate 3 device now gives these patients new hope that they can receive a heart pump clinically proven to mitigate challenges we've historically confronted with this therapy—stroke and blood clotting—while also offering survival rates on par with transplant.”

An LVAD is intended to complement a weakened heart by providing circulatory support, thus helping to maintain or improve blood flow to the kidneys, liver, brain and other organs. One end is attached to the left ventricle, and other is attached to the aorta; blood flows from the ventricles into the pump and is then ejected out of the device and into the aorta. LVADs are used as destination therapy or as a bridge-to-transplant, allowing the patient to be discharged from the hospital and lead a more normal and fuller life.

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