Ohio State recently became the first medical center in Ohio to implant a HeartMate III left ventricular assist device as part of a multicenter clinical trial. This is one of several clinical trials at Ohio State pursuing new ways to prolong life and improve quality of life for people with advanced heart failure.
HeartMate III Left Ventricular Assist Device
Ohio State was one of the first 10 medical centers selected by Thoratec Corporation to test the HeartMate III left ventricular assist device (LVAD), which is smaller and entirely magnetically levitated—designed to produce fewer complications than its predecessor, HeartMate II. The MOMENTUM 3 U.S. IDE Clinical Trial will compare the two devices.
In August 2015, Ohio resident Linda Burton, 67, became Ohio State’s first recipient of the HeartMate III. She has survived stents and two heart attacks and was living daily with the struggles of heart failure. Her symptoms were preventing her from enjoying daily activities, despite using a number of heart failure medications and a biventricular pacemaker. Researchers at up to 60 medical centers across the U.S. hope to enroll at least 1,000 patients to test the device as both a lifelong destination therapy or as a bridge to heart transplant.
“For people with end-stage heart failure, the one-year survival rate is 80 percent with the device. With medicine only, the survival rate is less than 50 percent,” says Ahmet Kilic, MD, director of both clinical and research for Ohio State’s Ventricular Assist Device Program.
The HeartMate III is implanted entirely in the chest cavity and is connected to an external controller and battery system that a patient can place in a vest pocket.
Burton, who will live with the device permanently, now can go walking, golfing and gardening. “It’s amazing how much better I feel,” she says.
Dr. Kilic adds, “Linda has done wonderfully with the implant. My hope is that she leads a much better quality of life with the stamina and energy to do the things
Stem Cell Study Tests for Improved Heart Function
Ohio State is among 25 centers across the U.S. and Canada testing the safety and efficacy of injecting stem cells into the heart during a surgical implant of an LVAD.
Researchers for the trial, titled “Safety & Efficacy of Intramyocardial Injection of Mesenchymal Precursor Cells (MPC) on Myocardial Function in LVAD Recipients,” hope the cells will improve heart function. Researchers have previously noted that MPCs normally present in human bone marrow have been shown to increase the development of blood vessels and new heart muscle cells in the heart.
“With this study, we’re not only wanting to extend quality of life but use the stem cells to recover heart function. The goal is to help the heart repair itself and reverse damage to the heart muscle,” Dr. Kilic says.
Researchers are testing RevascorTM stem cells, obtained from healthy human donors and grown in a laboratory. Patients receiving an LVAD as a bridge to transplant and as a destination therapy are eligible to participate.
SynCardia Total Artificial Heart
Patients with severe biventricular failure are faced with having a heart transplant or replacing both ventricles. The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart provides a temporary option as a bridge to transplant. The size of the already-approved artificial heart is too large for all potential candidates, however. Ohio State is one of a handful of sites in the country testing a smaller version of the artificial heart called 50cc SynCardia Total Artificial Heart, suitable for women, smaller men or adolescents.
About Ohio State’s Ventricular Assist Capabilities
Ohio State has one of the country’s largest ventricular assist device programs and is recognized worldwide for its leadership in cardiac mechanical support. The program has three heart surgeons who specialize in mechanical assist devices. Together, they implant long-term and temporary devices in more than 70 patients per year.
The heart surgeons collaborate with heart failure specialists, nurse practitioners, VAD coordinators, pharmacists, social workers and dietitians—all working in Ohio State’s Heart Failure Disease Clinic—to provide ongoing care for more than 100 patients with long-term VADs.
“Our expertise in providing a continuum of care for heart failure patients through the clinic allows us to provide a better quality of life for some of the most complex and sick patients,” Dr. Kilic states.
In addition to devices currently being tested, Ohio State uses these devices:
- Heartmate II, the most common VAD implanted worldwide in the chest to promote continuous blood flow from the left side of the heart into the aorta. The VAD is run by a small external computer, which is connected to the pump via a small cable that passes through the upper abdomen.
- HeartWare, a more recently developed VAD approved as a bridge to transplantation, is awaiting approval as a destination therapy. It is implanted entirely within the heart sac and can be implanted in a wide range of people, including those of smaller stature.
“We have access to every available device,”says Dr. Kilic, “and our short-term and long-term survival rates meet and exceed the national average. Quality in care is something we are very proud of, and we will continue to hold ourselves to the highest expectations for our patients.”
Ohio State enrolls its patients in INTERMACS (Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support), a national registry for people who receive mechanical circulatory support device therapy. This database, with more than 10,000 patients from 140 hospitals, helps classify the severity of a patient’s illness and predicts mortality of patients receiving a VAD implant.
“My hope is to continue to build on the VAD program’s strengths and engage the various physicians involved in the care of these complex patients. With seamless communication and early referral, we can continue to care for the ever-increasing number of heart failure patients.
“The goal is to not only improve their survival but, perhaps more importantly, the quality of life for all of those suffering from advanced heart failure,” Dr. Kilic concludes.
Make a Referral to Ohio State’s Mechanical Assist Device Program
Heart Failure Disease Clinic
VAD and Heart Transplant
If a patient’s condition warrants an urgent outpatient evaluation or inpatient transfer, please notify us so we can expedite the patient’s care.
To arrange a same-day physician consult or patient transfer, call our 24-hour referral and transfer service at 614-293-4444 or 800-824-8236.