The cardiac team at Gurugram’s Narayana Superspeciality Hospital holds out hope for advanced heart failure
The worldwide prevalence of patients living with chronic heart failure is on the rise thanks to technology. With severe and chronic heart failure, the left ventricle weakens to the point that it can no longer pump enough blood on its own to meet the metabolic demands of the body. But a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) implant, a battery-operated, mechanical pump which bolsters a weakened heart, is offering hope. A 42-year-old Iraqi recipient, who suffered a heart attack and is diabetic, has now got a second chance at life after he underwent a cardiac procedure.
A heart attack weakened his cardiac muscles and reduced the pumping of the heart by 15 per cent. This restricted his physical activities and he found it difficult to perform even basic functions like going to the washroom. His condition worsened to the extent that he could not even sleep at night.
Dr. Julius Punnen, Cardiac Surgeon, Heart & Lung Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, said, “Patients who have decompensated heart failure have a very poor chance of survival, maybe a year, and the chances of obtaining a compatible heart donor within a short span of time are very unlikely. The only possible option for these patients is to implant a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD). The procedure to implant LVAD is complex and involves risks. However, LVAD can be life-saving; the patient can expect a good quality of life and can emerge as a ray of hope for many patients.”
Mechanical circulatory support devices have become an important treatment tool for severe, acute and chronic heart failure conditions, addressing two situations – non-availability of the donor organ and the unsuitability of heart transplantation for various reasons. Dr Sandeep Singh, cardiac surgeon, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, said, “This patient visited our hospital in a decompensated state with end-stage heart failure. He was given a choice for LVAD implantation as a bridge-to-transplant with extensive explanations of the procedure and its pros and cons. The patient was then admitted and stabilized in the intensive cardiac care unit. Once he stabilized, he was taken for LVAD implantation.”
With the help of a dedicated team, the surgery went smoothly and within 24 hours, the patient was taken off the mechanical ventilator. In the next 48 hours, he was out of bed. In the subsequent four to five days, the improvement was so evident that the patient was able to walk 100 metres without any difficulty. The patient and his family were provided with training to manage the device without the help of any specialist.
Since its inception, there have been marked improvements in LVAD technology, making it a reliable therapeutic option for patients with advanced heart failure. Over time with new emerging technology, the LVADS have also evolved to be more efficient, safer and easier to use for patients.