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The Impella 2.5 heart device is being studied in order to see if if is more efficient than balloon therapies.

The Impella 2.5 heart device is being studied in order to see if if is more efficient than balloon therapies.

Impella 2.5 heart device is now being used by Dr. Massoud Leesar, MD, and other UC cardiologists to help patients while they wait on other interventions.

Massoud Leesar, MD, associate chief in the division of cardiovascular diseases
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Publish Date: 12/02/08
Media Contact: Katie Pence, 513-558-4561
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New Technology Creates Options for Patients With Severe Heart Disease

CINCINNATI—University of Cincinnati cardiologists are using a new technology to recover the hearts of patients with severe heart disease by taking over the pumping action during interventional cardiac procedures.


The device—the Impella 2.5—is a minimally invasive catheter designed to pump blood to the aorta and reduce the heart’s workload and oxygen consumption.


Massoud Leesar, MD, professor in the cardiovascular diseases division, and colleagues are comparing this Food and Drug Administration approved-device to the traditional balloon pump in a clinical trial to see which is more beneficial to patients.


The balloon pump requires placement of a thin balloon into an artery via catheter, usually in the groin, that leads to the largest artery in the body, the aorta.


The catheter is connected to a computer that controls inflation, deflation, timing and pressure, so that the balloon will inflate when the heart muscle relaxes and deflate just before the heart pumps again.


The new device—a circulatory assist device—is implanted in the same way but has a miniature pump that pushes 2.5 liters of freshly oxygenated blood from the left ventricle of the heart into the aorta to maintain circulatory support in patients with severely limited function.  


“This device will allow us to do high-risk interventions for patients while vastly eliminating stress on their hearts,” Leesar says.


He adds that this technology is fairly new to the Cincinnati area and has only been used so far on a handful of patients at University Hospital.


In the clinical trial—called PROTECT II—half of patients will be given the new device while the other half will be given the balloon therapy.


Leesar says this technology is especially good news for people who suffer from cardiogenic shock—inadequate circulation of blood due to failure of the heart ventricles to function effectively.


“Roughly 70 percent of people with this condition die because of the extreme loss of heart function,” he says. “This tool shows great promise in helping them survive while we perform angioplasty. After establishing blood supply to the heart, function improves, resulting in a positive impact on the patient’s survival.


“We’ve seen success so far, and we hope this new device will continue to prove as a worthwhile treatment option for some of our high-risk patients.”


This study was funded in part by Abiomed, the manufacturers of Impella 2.5. Leesar has no financial interests in Abiomed.

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