Permanent Heart Pump Implant Gives Man Second Chance
"Implanting this device is much easier than the surgery required for the old pulsatile pumps, and there is much less blood loss," Frazier says. He says that the simplicity of the implant "makes it easier to do in England because they really don't have a lot of experience there with implants, so this is an ideal one to use in that setting."
When the device is permanently implanted, an external power supply is attached to the head directly behind the ear. This attaches to a portable controller and battery, which can be worn on the belt. Frazier says, "Jarvik has long experience with the ear pedestal that is fixed to the head. It appears to be very resistant to infection, so that's one of the advantages."
Frazier says the device is among the most patient friendly of the heart pumps because "it's very quiet. Patients don't even hear it, and it's easy to forget about it. One patient said the only difference she noticed was that she wasn't short of breath."
William Smith, PhD, a researcher in the department of biomedical engineering at the Lerner Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, says that there are "about 10 to 12 devices that are in development or in clinical trials now" of which the Jarvik 2000 is one. "But Jarvik is actually coming fairly late to the field because another manufacturer, MicroMed, already has over 50 cases with their device, which is also a rotary impeller design," he explains.
Smith says that the goal of most researchers in the field "is over the next three to five years to get maybe a dozen devices into clinical trials so that someday a surgeon will have as many as 10 different devices that will be options suited to individual patient needs."