Northwestern Medicine implement first LVAD with MagLev pump

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Heartmate 3
The HeartMate 3 system (Abbott/St. Jude Medical)

In Illinois, USA, Jesus Garcia has become the first patient in his state to receive the HeartMate 3 (Abbott/St. Jude Medical) left ventricular assist device (LVAD), a new option for physicians managing advanced heart failure patients in need of short-term hemodynamic support (bridge-to-transplant or bridge to myocardial recovery). Implanted by Duc Thinh Pham, Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, Chicago, USA, the newly approved device improves blood flow and reduces trauma to blood passing through the system.

“This type of revolutionary technology has truly improved quality of life for patients, like Mr. Garcia, suffering from advanced heart failure,” Pham says. “The benefits to patients like him are almost instantaneous and allow us to work with him on a long-term plan for recovery.”

The HeartMate 3 system deploys magnetic levitation (MagLev) technology to reduce trauma to the blood passing through the pump while optimizing blood flow. Improved blood flow can help minimize complications – such as pump thrombosis – that can be associated with LVAD therapy, ultimately improving the patient’s quality of life.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital currently has the best survival rates for Medicare patients suffering from heart failure of any hospital in the United States, a position it has held for more than two years, according to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Northwestern’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute prioritised treatment of heart failure by creating a Bridge and Transition, or BAT team, to help ensure patients receive proper treatment, care and follow-up, from diagnosis to discharge and beyond.

Dr Pham participated in the MOMENTUM 3 clinical study, which led to the US FDA approval of the HeartMate 3 system. In that study, patients who received a HeartMate 3 system had a significant improvement in their heart failure 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 pump at six months.

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