Pumps implanted into the chest to maintain circulation can significantly extend the lives of the sickest patients in end-stage heart failure who are not candidates for heart transplantation, according to the results of a clinical trial led by Duke University Medical Center cardiologists.
The pumps, known as left ventricular assistant devices (LVADs), are employed when the hearts left ventricle – the chamber of the heart that pumps blood throughout the body – is too weak to pump enough blood to nourish the bodys tissues. LVADs have been used as successful short-term "bridges to heart transplant" and are increasingly being considered as a long-term heart failure destination therapy, said the researchers.
In the current trial, the researchers found that patients who received LVADs had an average survival time of 10.3 months, compared to 3.1 months for those who did not receive the device. In this group of end-stage heart failure patients, 78 percent died within six months and 90 percent within a year.
Richard Merritt | EurekAlert!
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