Clots (or not) to be thankful for in HeartMate advance

Talk to the palm: The HeatMate 3 LVAD is specially designed to reduce clotting, a significant advance for heart-failure patients.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

A cutting-edge Manhasset hospital is the first in the region to offer new hope to patients with advanced heart failure, in the form of a revolutionary implanted pump.

North Shore University Hospital’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital has become the first on Long Island equipped to implant the Heartmate 3, the newest generation of a left ventricular assist device developed by Illinois-based medical-device maker Abbott Laboratories.

Built to provide full heart support for people with advanced heart failure, the implanted circulatory pump – which works in conjunction with an external cord and rechargeable power pack – is designed to help a weakened left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber, pump blood throughout the body.

The HeartMate 3, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this year following an intensive clinical study, improves on earlier Abbott Laboratories LVAD models by incorporating tech designed to decrease clotting risks – thereby improving patient outcomes and reducing the need for a potential pump-replacement procedures.

“Pump thrombosis” – a specific kind of major device malfunction involving clots and other blood-flow blockage anywhere in a patient due to the bio-incompatibility of a fairly complex implant – occurs with up to 15 percent of older-generation LVAD devices, according to Brian Lima, director of heart transplantation surgery at Northwell Health’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital.

That makes the Heartmate 3 a safer and more reliable “bridge to eventual heart transplantation or recovery” for advanced heart-failure patients, Lima noted.

“The main benefit observed with this pump is that it has no reported incidents of pump thrombosis,” Lima said in a statement.

Unfortunately, the HeartMate 3 figures to see lots of action at the Manhasset hospital and throughout the Northwell Health system. Approximately 5.7 million Americans suffer from heart failure and approximately 915,000 patients are diagnosed with the disease each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Team approach: Majure (left) and Lima were among the cardiac specialists who put the HeartMate 3 through its paces.

Since 2014, Northwell Health – New York State’s largest healthcare provider by number of patients and the state’s largest private employer – has collectively hospitalized nearly 21,000 heart-failure patients, accounting for 14 percent of the statewide total.

Lima and David Majure, medical director of the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital’s Mechanical Support Program, were among the principal investigators involved in the research and development of the Heartmate 3, including participation in the MOMENTUM 3 U.S. IDE Clinical Trial that earned the novel tech its FDA stripes.

With the heart hospital receiving approval this year to open the first new state-sanctioned heart-transplant center in 20 years and the hospital expecting to schedule its first heart transplant in the coming week, the HeartMate 3 – which saw its first deployment at the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital on Nov. 19 – is part of a “highly coordinated” effort to develop the hospital’s heart-transplant surgery operations, according to Lima.

“With the newest advanced assist device available for heart-failure patients and plans to expand our LVAD program … we will provide the best possible treatment options for our advanced heart failure patients and their families,” the surgeon noted.

“Based on my experience in the MOMENTUM trial, our team is thrilled to bring this technology to our patients,” added 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 arrival of the new tech caps a big cardiac year for Northwell Health on Long Island, including the September additions of Lima and fellow cardiac surgeon Syed Hussain, the November opening of a Great Neck-based cardiac rehabilitation center and fresh recognition from the NYS Department of Health for the system’s superior cardiac-procedure outcomes.


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