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First-in-Canada successful implant of cardiac-assist device in high-risk heart patient

Posted on April 5, 2017 | Uncategorized

-Courtesy of Peter Munk Cardiac Centre UHN-

TandemHeart System offers new option to treat clinically-challenging cardiac condition

A multi-disciplinary medical team of interventional and structural cardiologists at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, University Health Network, has successfully completed a Canadian first — the implant of a TandemHeart circulatory support device designed to take over the function of a weak and damaged heart while allowing the heart’s pumping chamber or left ventricle time to recover — all without surgery.

“This type of minimally-invasive procedure driven by novel device technologies and enabled via high-specialized medical expertise is further evidence of our unwavering commitment to innovation in action, within cardiovascular care,” says Dr. Barry Rubin, Medical Director, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. “Seeking out these life-saving and life-changing procedures that do not require an intrusive operation, dramatically improve a heart patients’ quality of life and provide the potential for an expedient recovery to support the patient’s overall experience — are all hallmarks of our globally-recognized cardiac and vascular team,” he says.

The TandemHeart, manufactured by CardiacAssist, Inc. dba TandemLife was implanted during a three-hour procedure at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre in Toronto, in a 55-year-old, heart failure patient, for whom open heart surgery was not a treatment option. “The two main reasons we are using this device are for patients who need to undergo high-risk angioplasty procedures and for patients who are in cardiogenic shock and need vital blood flow to their heart muscle that they are not getting,” says Dr. Christopher Overgaard, interventional cardiologist, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, University Health Network, who led the implant procedure. “This device really works as a powerful pump that, through catheters inserted into the body, will bypass the left ventricle and allow the body to obtain enough perfusion to get to all the vital organs. And it’s amazing because the patients can be awake and have this perfusion occurring at the same time,” he says.

One of only a few devices currently available that requires access through a puncture of the skin and not a surgical incision, the TandemHeart is propelled by a powerful motor which extracts oxygenated blood from the left atrium of the heart and then returns that blood to the rest of the body’s vital organs. Spearheaded by interventional cardiologists at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, the device received approval by Health Canada in 2014 and is currently being used in more than 250 healthcare centres in North America, including three in Canada.

“The thought leaders of the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre in Toronto were pivotal in helping to bring TandemHeart to patients throughout Canada, it’s incredible to see these efforts come to fruition in the form of a life-saving procedure,” said John Marous, President and CEO of TandemLife. “We’re excited to learn how the cardiovascular team at TGH will use the TandemLife platform to help push the new frontiers of cardiovascular medicine forward.”

ABOUT THE PETER MUNK CARDIAC CENTRE The Peter Munk Cardiac Centre is the premier cardiac centre in Canada. Since it opened in 1997, the Centre has saved and improved the lives of cardiac and vascular patients from around the world. Each year, approximately 55,000 patients receive innovative and compassionate care from multidisciplinary teams in the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, and the Centre trains more cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and vascular surgeons than any other hospital in Canada. The Centre is based at the Toronto General Hospital and the Toronto Western Hospital – members of University Health Network.