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Tiny Pump Helps Keep Heart Beating

Last updated on Friday, September 28, 2007

(INDIANAPOLIS) - There’s some new hope for patients with congestive heart failure — a tiny pump that helps the heart pump blood.

St. Vincent Hospital is now just the third facility in the country to do the surgery to implant a ventrassist left ventricular assist device, which is still in clinical trials.

The director of cardiac transplants at the hospital, Dr. Christopher Salerno, says the device is a major breakthrough in the treatment of congestive heart failure. He says this device is implanted next to the heart to help the left ventricle do it's pumping job.

In patients with congestive heart failure, the heart's pumping mechanism is weakening. Eventually, the lack of blood flow impacts nearly every organ in the body and can lead to death.

However, he says with this device, the patient can lead a normal life. Salerno says the ventrassist device can be a step on the way to a heart transplant, or for other patients, can be the treatment to extend and improve their lives.

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