I found this interesting, thought I'd post it...
"Heart pump revives 'desperately ill' woman"
By LEIGH HOPPER Copyright 2000 Houston Chronicle Medical Writer
A dying woman implanted with a revolutionary, miniature heart pump 16 days ago is walking and was able to attend an Easter church service, a Texas Heart Institute doctor said Tuesday.
"She was desperately ill and now she isn't," said Dr. O.H. Frazier, chief of cardiopulmonary transplantation, who performed the operation April 10. "She's out of bed and walking around for the first time in a month."
The woman, whose enlarged heart was failing despite other support measures, is the second patient to be implanted with the Jarvik 2000, a tiny turbine that fits directly inside the heart's left ventricle. The pump, the size of a C battery, pushes oxygenated blood throughout the body.
The first patient implanted with a Jarvik 2000 received the device in December at the Texas Heart Institute under medical emergency conditions, according to the March-April edition of the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs Journal.
The procedure was performed to replace a traditional assist pump called a HeartMate which had become infected. The patient, a boy, died after 16 days on the Jarvik 2000 of the infection and multiple organ failure.
Frazier described the procedure as a "last-ditch attempt" that had a slim chance of success.
"I saw no hope other than use of this technology. I was very skeptical as far as hope of him surviving," Frazier said. "He had these other overwhelming problems we were never able to reverse."
The woman implanted with the pump April 10 is the first patient enrolled in a study to evaluate the pump as a bridge to transplant, Frazier said. She remains on the waiting list for a donor heart. So far, the battery-powered device "is performing extremely well," Frazier said, and he is "very optimistic of her chances of being successfully transplanted."
Texas Heart Institute expects to implant the device, which was developed by Frazier and New York doctor Robert Jarvik, in a small number of patients in the coming months. The Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital is the only site of the pilot study, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Eligible patients are those who are "absolutely too small" for the more widely used HeartMate assist pump, Frazier said. A typical HeartMate patient might be 5 feet, 9 inches tall, and weigh about 175 pounds, he said. Women and children usually have bodies too small to be fitted with the larger device.
The Jarvik 2000 has been designed for long-term use, and the mini-pump pioneers hope it could someday be used as a permanent alternative to heart transplants. In addition, patients with artificial devices could avoid the anti-rejection drugs that transplant patients must take.
Frazier said the pump's power is imperceptible to the patient.
"It's what Dr. Jarvik and I always wanted to achieve, a pump that's forgettable," Frazier said. "This one, she doesn't even know it's present."
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