The Heart & Vascular Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is one of approximately 60 centers nationwide and currently the only one in Massachusetts participating in the clinical study of the HeartMate 3, the latest development in the HeartMate family of left ventricular assist devices (LVADs). Our Center was also one of the first to implant this potentially game-changing technology in mechanical circulatory support.
The surgically implanted HeartMate 3 is designed to act as a bridge to transplantation (short-term support) or as destination therapy (long-term support) for patients with end-stage heart failure. It achieves this by taking over the pumping function of the left ventricle.
Mandeep R. Mehra, MD, Executive Director of the BWH Center for Advanced Heart Disease and Medical Director of the Heart & Vascular Center, is one of four co-principal investigators for the HeartMate 3 clinical trial. He explains that this study is somewhat unique in that most mechanical circulatory support devices are studied for their effectiveness as either a bridge to transplantation or destination therapy, whereas the HeartMate 3 is being studied for its effectiveness for both purposes. This is significant, as in many cases it isn’t clear whether a patient will need short-term or long-term support.
The HeartMate 3 also features a number of improvements upon previous HeartMate versions. Along with being smaller, more portable, and quieter, the HeartMate 2 improved upon the first HeartMate device by providing faster post-operative recovery and more continuous blood flow. The HeartMate 3 is designed to build upon these innovations by offering the following enhancements:
The new device’s pump is even smaller than the HeartMate 2, which is favorable for an active lifestyle. It can be placed in the chest cavity (near the heart) without the surgeon needing to create an artificial pocket.
The device’s slim controller can be slipped into a front pocket.
Magnetic levitation (maglev) technology in the HeartMate 3 creates a frictionless motor, which has the potential to increase the device’s durability.
The new device is more energy efficient, increasing its reliability.
Textured surfaces increase biocompatibility.
Strategically integrated gaps (between the rotor and pump housing) help to improve blood flow.
The HeartMate 3 includes artificial pulse technology to reduce the risk of clotting.
Along with seeking to validate these improvements, the study also will examine associated survival, re-hospitalization, and re-operation rates.
For more information about the study, please contact Susan Anello at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617)732-7174.