Deborah Heart and Lung Center Reaches Mechanical Heart Pump Milestone, 100 Left-Ventricular Assist Device Implants Done at the Hospital

In a remarkable achievement, extending the lives of 100 critically-ill patients, Deborah implanted its 100th Heart Mate 3, left-ventricular assist device (LVAD). These mechanical pumps support the hearts of patients who are in severe advanced heart failure. The devices can be used as a temporary measure while a patient is waiting for a heart transplant, or it can be a “destination” therapy used for long-term life support.

Mark Harding was one of those destination patients. In 2019, Mr. Harding received his LVAD, and has enjoyed another full four years of life.

“I am so happy to have received my LVAD,” he said. “It has given me years of happiness and good times with my wife Christine. I am looking forward to many more fulfilling years ahead of me.”

According to cardiologist Kulpreet Barn, MD, Director of Deborah’s Advanced Heart Failure Program, the LVAD milestone puts Deborah on the map as one of the most robust LVAD programs in the country.

“We have built this program from the ground up,” he said. “We now have done more Heart Mate 3 LVAD implants than any other program in New Jersey. We are also among the top programs in the country. While quality and outcomes are far more important than volume numbers, why this milestone matters is that LVAD implants are exceptionally complex surgical procedures. The more implants a hospital does, the better they get, and the more able the surgical team is to anticipate — and circumvent — any problems during implant.”

“Additionally at Deborah, we have a comprehensive team of nurses, physicians, advanced practitioners, and social workers that help select, coordinate, and manage this complicated patient population. After an LVAD implant, patients have responsibility to properly maintain their mechanical device, and monitor their own health. Proper training for that, as well as a team that is available day and night for an emergency consult is vital for success. Our outcomes speak for themselves. We have extended the lives of more than eight dozen patients. And these patient have all enjoyed a good quality of life, doing the things they enjoy, living each day to the fullest. This is an amazing testament to this program.”

An LVAD is a surgically implanted pump that is battery-operated with a pack that is worn on the outside of the body. This mechanical pump helps the left ventricle — which is the main pumping chamber of the heart — pump blood to the rest of the body.

“We are excited to have reached this incredible milestone,” added Dr. Barn. “The commitment of this team every day to provide superior healthcare outcomes to our patients cannot be stressed enough. Deborah truly has become a beacon of hope to those with end stage heart failure who have had no other treatment options.”

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