Ventricular Assist Systems: Clinical Application

  • O. H. Frazier


The ideal therapy for chronic end-stage heart failure must be reliable, cost effective, easy to implement and maintain, and capable of providing a physiologic level of circulatory support. The therapy most likely to have these characteristics within the next 10 years will probably be one more of the ventricular assist systems. Systems currently used primarily as intermediate or long-term bridges to transplantation include the HeartMate implantable left ventricular assist system (Thermo Cardiosystems, Woburn, MA) and the Novacor left ventricular assist system (Baxter Healthcare, Novacor Division, Oakland, CA). These devices not only support the circulation but may also enable a patient’s ventricle to recover before transplantation. Many patients who receive these devices become self-sufficient and can resume their normal activities. As experience accumulates, the future for heart failure patients may include long-term implantation of one of these systems as an alternative to transplantation. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a clinical trial for use of the vented electric HeartMate as an alternative to transplantation. It may also one day be possible to implant such a system, rest the heart, and then remove the system when the patient’s heart has adequately recovered. The future may also bring clinical application of smaller assist systems now being tested experimentally. The J-2000 (Jarvik Research, New York, NY), for example, is a valveless, miniaturized, intraventricular, axial-flow left ventricular assist system with blood-immersed bearings, currently under investigation at the Texas Heart Institute. The device, which is powered transcutaneously, is implanted within the left ventricle, and ongoing experimental results are promising.


Blood Pump Mechanical Circulatory Support Heart Lung Transplant Total Artificial Heart Pulsatile Pump 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. H. Frazier
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Cardiovascular Surgical ResearchTexas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal HospitalHoustonUSA

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