University Hospital’s HVI Celebrates Four Years of LVAD Success

University Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Insititute celebrates its fourth anniversary of its Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) program. The program, managed through the center’s Advanced Heart Failure Clinic, saves end-stage heart failure patients by implanting an artificial heart pump that helps the left ventricle pump blood to the rest of the body.

University Hospital’s multi-disciplinary program is the first and only facility in our region to provide this lifesaving procedure that would typically require patients to travel hours for treatment.

About Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure does not discriminate, whether it be age, race or economic status.

The condition damages or weakens the heart to the point where it can no longer efficiently pump blood to the rest of the body. Although heart failure can be attributed to many issues, including but not limited to coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and faulty heart valves, the condition also can be caused by something as innocuous as a virus.

Such was the case for University Hospital’s first LVAD patient, Daralee Corson, who had a severely weakened heart with an ejection fraction of 15%. The Advanced Heart Failure Clinic saved her life four years ago with an LVAD.

“When they went in to look at my coronaries, they were perfectly clear – pristine,” Ms. Corson said. “It was just a virus that caused the heart failure.”

The LVAD is a left ventricular assist device implanted during open-heart surgery and is a type of artificial heart pump. After four years with the LVAD, Ms. Corson said she is grateful for every added moment with her children and grandchildren.

“I just wanted to live,” she said. “And [the LVAD] has made that possible more than I could have ever dreamt.”

Over the past four years, University Hospital’s LVAD program has grown to be the third-largest program in the country. Our outcomes are far ahead of national benchmarks, says Dr. Karia, the Advanced Heart Failure/ LVAD program’s medical director.

LVAD therapy was initially designed to be a temporary solution until patients could receive a heart transplant. However, University Hospital’s LVAD program has seen great success in what is termed “Destination Therapy,” or having the LVAD as a permanent treatment for end-stage heart failure.