Enjoying a new lease on life

January 16, 2013

SINGAPORE – Last week, Madam Helen Tan, 57, was unveiled as the first heart transplant candidate in Singapore to be implanted with the Heartware Ventricular Assist System (HVAD)·

The device is a smaller and lighter mechanical heart pump meant to help advanced heart failure patients improve their heart’s function while waiting for a transplant.

Unlike previous generations of such devices, which require a small pocket to be surgically created below the heart to fit the pump, this device fits in a sac in which the heart is enclosed called the pericardium.

Madam Tan suffers from a condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy, in which the heart is weakened and enlarged.

Her heart was unable to pump enough blood to the rest of the body and was functioning at only about 25-30 per cent capacity when the implant was done on Sept 26 last year.

The New Paper takes a look at the new device.

How the miniaturised pump works

1. Blood flows from the aorta into integrated inflow cannula
2. The electromagnetically suspended impeller spins as blood flows past the grooves. The only moving part, it spins without the use of ball bearings. Revolutions per minute: 2,400 to 3,200
3. Blood flows back to aorta via the outflow graft at up to 10 litres a minute


– Smaller and lighter
– Faster recovery
– Fits next to the heart without the need to create a pocket underneath the heart as required by previous generations of heart pumps

The operation

National Heart Centre Singapore performed the four-hour open heart surgery on Sept 26 last year.

The sewing ring is first sutured to the heart followed by an incision on the inside of the ring.

An apical coring tool is used to remove the tissue within the sewing ring.

The pump is inserted and secured in place, followed by the placement of the driveline.

The other end of the outflow graft is finally attached to the aorta.

The controller and the batteries can be worn either around the patient’s waist or over the shoulder.

Source: The New Paper

Category: Technology & Devices

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