Ventricular Assist (VAD) Device has helped an Idaho man with heart failure to get back to normal active life after he was fitted with the device during an operation in March this year.
It was only the fourth U.S. implant of a new-generation.
Douglas Wiley, Kuna, Idaho, received the Levacor VAD as part of national clinical trial under way at the University and is anxious to give his new VAD a real-world tryout.
"I can't wait to get back on my motorcycle," said the 44-year-old.
The clinical trial, which is evaluating how well the new VAD serves as a bridge for people awaiting a heart transplant, is one of several leading-edge treatment options the University's cardiovascular program offers for people suffering from heart disease, said Dr. Craig H. Selzman.
"This new-generation VAD represents a potentially important step in giving patients such as Mr. Wiley the chance to regain their strength and vitality while they wait for a heart transplant. The University of Utah has a long and proud history in the development and use of implanted blood pumps, and with the Levacor clinical trial we are expanding our commitment to help those with this devastating disease," he added.
The Levacor VAD was initially developed at and spun-off from the University of Utah and is being commercialized by WorldHeart Corporation, a Salt Lake City-based company.
Unlike other VADs, this one uses a fully magnetically suspended rotor to help pump blood, allowing it to operate without bearings or other moving parts that wear out and can damage blood.
Potentially, the Levacor VAD could last years longer than other blood pumps.
Although the current clinical trial is evaluating the Levacor VAD as a bridge to transplant, the device is expected to be evaluated next as an alternative to heart transplant and may one day serve as a bridge to heart recovery, said Selzman.
Under this premise, an VAD designed to be efficient, durable and that is gentle to blood could take over for a failing heart long enough for the muscle to strengthen on its own or through the help of drugs or other therapies such as autologous stem cell transplants.