Chennai hospital implants HVAD, saves man with heart failure

Updated: Sep 26, 2013, 21:19 PM IST

Chennai: A 42-year-old man diagnosed with end-stage heart failure got a fresh lease of life after doctors at a private hospital here successfully implanted heartware ventricular assist device (HVAD) to pump blood, a procedure the hospital claimed is first of its kind in the country.

 The device was implanted in the pericardial space of C Satish Kumar, who has recovered well from the surgery, said doctors at Fortis Malar Hospital here on Thursday.

Heart failure is a condition when the heart does not pump blood as required and is different from a heart attack, doctors said, adding that the hospital was the first in the country to have successfully carried out the implant of HVAD.

 Kumar, a banker in the city, was diagnosed with end-stage heart failure at the hospital after he suddenly collapsed in July.

 Though the performance of his right ventricle was satisfactory, the left ventricle was dysfunctional.

 Although Kumar's was due to have a heart transplant, he could wait no longer as his condition was precarious.

 "With his age and medical conditions in mind, it was decided to implant him with the HVAD pump," the hospital Chief Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon of the hospital Dr K R Balakrishnan said.

 Describing the HVAD as a "?lever marriage of engineering and medicine," Balakrishnan said the titanium-based device imported from US now pumped blood for the heart.

 The device is very small, weighing only 150 grams, he said.

 The device costs around Rs 70-75 lakh, said Balakrishnan, adding, "though prohibitively costly, it is expected to become reasonable and affordable with more usage."

 Calling the device a "bridge to heart transplant" for patients with advanced heart failure, Balakrishnan said Kumar stood a high chance of recovery of his left ventricle's function.

 "He also has the option of going in for a heart transplant if warranted," he said, indicating that the device was expected to perform for over a decade.

 Meanwhile, expressing happiness over his health condition after the operation recently, Kumar said, "Now, after my surgery I feel more active and happy."