Scientists at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have informed patients that those with life-threatening heart failure can be assisted by mechanical heart pumps.
As part of their thesis, a total of 99 patients with life-threatening heart failure were treated with a heart pump for short- or long-term circulatory support.
"Two-thirds of these patients survived," said Hans Liden, a researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy and consultant thoracic surgeon at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.
"A total of around 300 patients have been treated with heart pumps at the hospital over the years - and with good results," Liden added.
Heart pumps for short-term support are used mainly for young and middle-aged patients with acute problems, such as heart attacks.
Heart pumps for long-term support are normally used for patients with chronic heart failure who are so ill that they are not expected to survive the wait - or the operation - for a new heart.
"In the group given short-term support, around half the patients recovered sufficient heart function to be able to return home," said Liden.
Most patients given long-term support have gone on to have heart transplants.
The main finding of the thesis is that this treatment can improve survival among patients with life-threatening heart failure.