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New Options for Advanced Heart Disease

November 6, 2008

“Because of the scarcity of available organs, the Montefiore-Einstein Heart Center is looking at new ways for heart disease patients to go on living with their own hearts. This is a paradigm shift in the way we approach the failing heart,” says Daniel Goldstein, MD, Surgical Director of the heart Transplant and Mechanical Assist Device Program.

On Thursday, November 13th at 7:00pm on http://www.or-live.com/montefiore/2478 Montefiore-Einstein Heart Center will follow its award winning live webcast of a Heart Transplant with a live panel discussion about an implant of a heart pump or Left Ventricular Assist Device. “Basically, we are installing a pump in the body that will take over the function of the diseased heart that can no longer adequately supply the body with the blood it needs. We attach a tube from the left VENTRICLE to the pump. The pump then forces the blood through another tube that is attached to the aorta. From there, the blood is dispersed through the circulatory system by the force of the pump,” explains Dr. Goldstein.

Along with the new pump this particular patient is also participating in an experimental program that includes high doses of the drug Clenbuterol. This muscle-growth therapy has resulted in dramatic improvement in some patients. “Given that there are over 150,000 people with advanced heart failure in the United States each year and only 2,000 available hearts for transplant, we are forced to look for alternatives. Although the heart pump was originally designed as a bridge to transplant, we have discovered pump-assisted hearts can sometimes begin to repair themselves. It then made sense to begin looking for therapies that can accelerate this process. At Montefiore-Einstein Heart Center, we’re the only institution in the Northeast participating in a study that involves giving high doses of Clenbuterol to patients on a particular Assist Device. This therapy showed great promise in the U.K., sometimes resulting in the eventual removal of the pump and restoration of normal heart function,” says Simon Maybaum, MD, Medical Director of the Heart Transplant Program.

The panel will be composed of Simon Maybaum, MD and David D’Alessandro, MD. It will be moderated by Daniel Goldstein, MD. The doctors will review video of the Ventricular Assist Device surgery performed by Dr. Goldstein and also discuss the patient’s progress in the study. During the webcast, the viewing audience will be able to send live email questions to the doctors.

The staff at Montefiore-Einstein Heart Center would like to cordially invite everyone to consider organ donation. As Dr. Goldstein said in accepting his Webby award, “Don’t take your organs to heaven.”

To learn more about heart disease and view a preview for this program visit OR-Live.com

VNR: Heart Disease

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