Getting Hearts Pumping
World's smallest heart pump comes to Genesis to help high-risk patients
The world's smallest heart pump has arrived at Genesis Medical Center, Davenport to bring more treatment options to critically ill cardiac patients.
The Abiomed's Impella 2.5 circulatory support system centers on a tiny pump, about the width of a straw. It is inserted into weak hearts to keep them functioning in patients while cardiologists perform lifesaving interventions. Once threaded inside the heart's left ventricle, the pump augments the heart's pumping action and provides precious time for doctors to make repairs, such as balloon angioplasty or stent placement.
""With this breakthrough technology, our cardiologists can provide life-saving cardiovascular procedures and immediate circulatory support for our most critical patients," says Craig Sommers, Executive Director of the Genesis Heart Institute "There is no doubt this device can save lives by providing extra support when it matters most."
Genesis is the first in the region to have the technology and the first to use it in Iowa. It is among more than 150 U.S hospitals currently using the technology, which received FDA approval last June.
The Impella can pump approximately 2.5 liters of blood per minute, helping to boost the heart's pumping power when a patient's heart is determined to be too weak.
The device is so small, only 6.4 mm in diameter, it can be inserted into a patient's heart through a small catheter placed through the femoral artery in the leg to the heart's left ventricle and into the ascending aorta. The procedure takes place in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab.
Cardiologist Jon Robken, M.D., shows
Abiomed's Impella 2.5, the world's smalled
heart pump, the Impella 2.5 augments blood
flow by pumping up to 2.5 liters per minute.
"This device will stabilize the condition of the critically ill patient who needs angioplasty. It can also be used following a heart attack and for patients in congestive heart failure or with pulmonary edema -- any condition where the heart is having trouble pumping blood," says cardiologist Jon Robken, M.D., Cardiovascular Medicine, P.C.
"A lot of cardiologists will look at these patients' heart function and their other risk factors, such as heart failure, kidney disease or fluid in the lungs, and say: 'It's too risky. We can't do the procedure.'
"Now with the Impella device, we can help support these patients' hearts and do the procedure at much less risk to their life."
Dr. Robken explains that the device has shielded propellers that pull blood in. When inserted into the heart, it speeds up the flow of blood and makes it easier for the heart to do its job. Blood flow is improved to vital organs, and the heart suffers less trauma.
"With this taking over part of the function of the heart, it will continue to circulate blood through the body and support the kidneys, the brain and other organs of the body while doctors work on the arteries. The patient is able to tolerate the procedure without their blood pressures going down and the heart becoming dysfunctional."
For years, cardiologists have used other support devices to support blood pressure and heart function, including the intra-aortic balloon pump. Company officials say the Impella 2.5 provides the heart with active support five times faster than current industry devices and 3-5 times more blood flow than the current standard of care.
"With the Impella, you move more blood than with a balloon pump, so you get better support of blood pressure and more stabilization of the patient," Dr. Robken says. "They can tolerate the procedure better."