Heart failure occurs when the heart is diseased, injured or overexerted and unable to pump enough blood to sustain the body. There is no single cause of heart failure, although coronary artery disease (clogged arteries) and high blood pressure are often linked to the condition. It can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms are often overlooked or mistaken for normal signs of aging.
Selecting the Right Treatment
Historically, this condition has been treated with medications. However, some late-stage heart failure patients do not respond to this treatment option and, in certain situations, a heart may be so damaged that a transplant is required. Out of 100,000 patients in the U.S. that are potential transplant candidates, only about 2,400 receive hearts each year due to a shortage of donor hearts.
Due to his age and other health complications, Pete was unlikely to receive a donor heart. His doctors recommended he consider a heart pump called the HeartMate XVE Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD). The device is implanted alongside a patient's heart and is designed to take over the pumping ability of the left ventricle, pushing blood to the rest of the body. The HeartMate is the only device approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for long-term or permanent support of the heart, also known as Destination Therapy.
"Pete's heart failure was steadily getting worse. He didn't qualify for a heart transplant and needed additional cardiac support. He was a prime candidate for the HeartMate XVE," said Dr. Mark Slaughter, a cardiac surgeon at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Chicago. "We've had great success with patients on heart pumps in the past. Without it, Pete would still be bedridden in the hospital. With this device, we knew Pete could return to normal daily activities and enjoy an overall improvement in his quality of life."
"The HeartMate is truly life-saving," said Pete. "I can breathe easier and have more energy to do things I enjoy-including riding my motorcycle, fishing and boating, which are very important to me. Most importantly, I can spend time with my wife and watch my grandchildren grow up."
Advocate Christ Medical Center is one of the 69 centers in the country to offer this treatment option. For more information about heart failure or the HeartMate XVE heart pump, please visit www.hearthope.com.