Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute surgeons implant heart pump in comparative study of two devices

Chicago's first participant in the RELIANT (Randomized Evaluation of the Novacor(r) LVAS In A Non-Transplant Population) research study recently went home from Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Percy Pinkdon, a 70-year-old Chicago man, suffered from irreversible end-stage cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle that affects its ability to pump blood.

He received unsuccessful cardiac treatments at other hospitals and an existing bone marrow abnormality ruled out a heart transplant. A friend recommended he come to the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he learned about a first-of-its-kind, national, multi-center clinical trial that compares heart pumps from two different manufacturers - the Novacor Left Ventricular Assist System (LVAS) and the standard device, the HeartMate VE LVAS - as destination therapy or a permanent treatment for severely ill patients who are not candidates for a heart transplant.

"The field of heart pump technology is evolving. This research trial is important because we need to understand what type of pump will work best in each patient," said Pinkdon's surgeon, Edwin McGee, MD, surgical director, Advanced Heart Failure Program at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and assistant professor of surgery at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

Heart pumps were initially approved as a "bridge-to-transplant," to assist a person's ailing heart until a donor heart could be found for transplantation. Three years ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave approval for the first time for a heart pump to be used as destination therapy.

Left ventricular assist systems assume the pumping function of the left ventricle of the heart, which pumps blood to the large blood vessel that sends blood to the rest of the body. The systems include an implantable heart pump and mobile external components, connected through a line in the skin that powers the pump.

Contact: Amanda Widtfeldt
Northwestern Memorial Hospital

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