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.
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.