19th April 2011
Cardiac specialists are being advised to follow new guidelines determining when patients with heart problems such as heart failure should received a mechanical heart-pumping device.
The new directions have been drawn up by doctors working in Mechanical Circulatory Support at Henry Ford Hospital in America.
They will offer guidance on the stage at which doctors should consider implanting a left ventricular assist device – a battery-operated pumping device designed to help a weakened heart pump blood.
These devices are typically used when patients have to wait too long for a heart transplant, due to a chronic shortage, or for long-term support in patients who are not eligible for transplants.
Around 2,500 were implanted in America last year, many of which were used as a temporary treatment until a transplant was available.
Dr Jeffrey A Morgan, associate director of Mechanical Circulatory Support, said: "The new guidelines will likely affect who is referred for a mechanical circulatory support device, and how early in the process a physician would consider implanting a left ventricular assist device. These guidelines have the ability to change clinical practice patterns for patients with advanced heart failure."
America has been suffering from a shortage of organs for a decade, according to reports.
By Jeannette Royston
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