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Assist For Congestive Heart Failure - Yahoo News

Rebecca Cogswell is an advanced heart failure cardiologist at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, which implants about 50 heart pumps a year, divided between patients on destination therapy -- for whom the heart pump is meant to be permanent -- and those awaiting transplant. LVADs buy time for those on the transplant list, Cogswell says. But "another avenue" for pump use is for people who aren't transplant candidates but could still benefit, such as those in their 70s or 80s. Age over a center's cutoff is a major reason patients aren't lowers LDL cholesterol eligible for transplant, says Dr. Ryan Tedford , a cardiologist at the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center in Baltimore. Cancer is another: Depending on type of malignancy, patients might have to wait at least five years for transplant. Similarly, heavier patients with a body mass index above cutoff might quality for an LVAD as destination therapy. As with transplant, Tedford says, a heart pump is considered a last resort after all the right medications have been tried, guideline-directed medical therapy has been given -- and the hospitalized patient is still struggling and getting sicker. A landmark study , which randomly assigned patients with advanced heart failure to receive either "optimal medical therapy" or an LVAD implant, found a "substantial improvement in survival" for patients on LVAD support. Choosing In August 2013, Steele entered the hospital carrying about 30 pounds of fluid buildup in his belly and legs. A read cardiac catheterization confirmed that his heart, already fitted with a defibrillator and a pacemaker , was getting worse. Diagnosed a decade ago with heart failure , Steele knew that now he was "really going downhill." He couldn't climb a flight of stairs. When he came home from work each day, he had to lie down to take a nap. At night, he couldn't sleep. "I had to sit in my chair because of all the fluids," he says.
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