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Singapore hospital unveils artificial heart

Singapore, October 11, 2009

The National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) has introduced state-of-the-art artificial hearts that can improve and prolong the life of patients with end-stage heart failure, a statement said.

The new device, known as Heart Mate II, has a much smaller pump than older devices, making it fully implantable within a patient’s body, regardless of their chest cavity size, it said.

The size of the device makes it suitable for adults with a smaller build, such as Asians and female patients. The device is also built to last, possibly for years, giving it the potential for long-term support of patients with irreversible heart failure, said the statement.

This latest device, which takes over the function of a failing heart by pumping blood around the body, provides critically ill patients with a means of prolonging and improving their quality of life, while waiting for a heart transplant.

Mechanical heart assist devices for end-stage heart failure patients were first introduced in Singapore when NHCS set up its Mechanical Heart Devices (MHD) Programme in 2001.

Over the years, the programme has achieved many landmark milestones, both in Singapore and Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean), providing increasingly sophisticated support to patients as the devices become ever more competent.

“A few years ago, we could only offer LVADs to patients who were at least 1.7 metres tall and with a body weight of 65 kg and above. Now, we no longer have to exclude patients who have a smaller build, potentially allowing more patients to benefit,” said Dr C Sivathasan, senior consultant and director of the MHD programme.

The other advantage of this new device is its simpler design, which consists of just one rotating pump, that keeps a continuous blood flow in the body. Fewer moving parts translate to a more durable device and lower chances of mechanical damage of blood
cells and components, known as shear damage.

Continuous flow pumps are also much quieter when compared to the older pulse pumps mimicking the heart’s natural pulse rhythms.

According to Dr Sivathasan, this heralds the beginning of more permanent devices that can provide chronic long-term support for patients with irreversible heart failures.

“In Europe, one of these devices has been supporting a patient continuously for four years and counting. Very soon, we may have a device that can provide an even longer period of support with fewer side effects. Such devices will eventually reduce the demand for heart transplants,” he added.

The 17th International Society for Rotary Blood Pumps (ISRBP) Congress will be hosted by NHCS in Singapore for the first-time this year, revealed Dr Sivathasan, who is also the president of the congress.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Health | medical | pump | National Heart Centre Singapore | artificial heart device |

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