Destination (“Permanent”) Therapy
Since 1993, our program has been diligently involved with the research and development of permanent ventricular assist devices for heart failure patients. As a CMS-approved center, we have the capability to implant the left ventricular assist device in patients who do not qualify for a heart transplant. Patients may not be eligible for heart transplant due to their age, certain types of cancer, obesity and other factors.
Patients must meet LVAD therapy criteria and be diagnosed with end-stage heart failure (Class IIIB to IV) to qualify for Destination Therapy. The maximum length of support at our program is currently five years. Many Destination Therapy patients experience prolonged life and the ability to do many normal activities, such as spending time with family, hobbies, driving and traveling. For more information on patient lifestyle, read our Patient Stories.
Our program currently implants two devices for this therapy: the HeartMate II, which was approved by the FDA for permanent use in January 2010 and the HeartWare HVAD, which is available as part of an FDA-approved clinical trial.
HeartMate II (Thoratec)
The HeartMate II is a small, silent left ventricular assist device (LVAD) that is implanted below the patient’s heart in his or her abdomen. This device does not replace the heart, but assists the pumping function of the left ventricle. The HeartMate II is capable of pumping up to 10 liters of blood per minute. The pump utilizes only one moving part (a pump rotor), giving it enhanced durability over earlier generation devices. Patients with the HeartMate II are discharged home with a wearable power system. The HeartMate II is FDA approved.
HVAD Pump (HeartWare)
The HeartWare HVAD Pump is a miniaturized left ventricular assist device that is implanted in the pericardial space adjacent to the heart, and may be implanted in small adults and adolescents. The pump is the smallest on the market to date, weighing 140 grams with an outer diameter of approximately 4 centimeters. The HVAD pump utilizes passive magnetic and hydrodynamic forces to levitate and rotate an impeller. Once power is applied to the device, there are no points of mechanical contact between the impeller and the body of the pump, giving it the potential for extended durability. Patients with the HeartWare device are discharged home with a wearable power system. The pump is currently available for Destination Therapy patients through an FDA-approved randomized clinical trial.