Beth Israel To Provide Long Term Heart Therapy

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is the first non-heart transplant hospital to offer LVADs.

Heart image via shutterstock

Heart image via shutterstock

The Cardio Vascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center announced this week that they will now be offering Left Ventricular Assist Devices as long-term therapy for heart failure patients.

Left Ventricular Assist Devices, or LVADs, consist of three components — a surgically implanted pump, an electronic controller, and batteries — that help advanced heart failure patients keep their heart pumping at a regular pace. Previously, LVADs have only been viewed as short term treatment for heart failure patients waiting to receive heart transplants. However, Dr. Kamal R. Khabbaz, surgical director of the Cardio Vascular Institute, says that these heart patients often do not qualify for the transplant list because of deteriorating health or are stuck on long transplant lists. Now, the Cardio Vascular Institute at Beth Israel is offering LVADs as long-term therapy instead of as a middle-man treatment. LVADs can prolong a patient’s life for up to five years.

Like all medical treatments, there are risks involved in choosing LVADs as long term therapy. But Dr. Robb D. Kociol, a cardiologist at Beth Israel who runs the LVAD program with Dr. Khabbaz, said in a press release on Tuesday,

“There are inconveniences and risks associated with LVADs, but these devices are also a great gift … they provide the gift of time and improved quality of life. I have patients who can now look forward to seeing their children get married and have babies. This is very gratifying.”
End-stage heart failure, according to Kociol, typically effects the elderly when the heart muscle becomes too weak to provide the rest of the body with enough blood. Kociol says symptoms of advanced heart failure include breathlessness, kidney failure, reduced mental functioning, and extreme fatigue. LVADs help these weak hearts pump more blood faster, and now, thanks to Beth Israel’s new LVAD offerings, can give patients another few years.