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Heart Pumps Save Lives

June 15, 2010

Heart failure is a very common condition: around 200,000 people in Sweden have been diagnosed with the disease. Some patients with life-threatening heart failure can be helped by mechanical heart pumps, reveals a thesis from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

In the 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,” says Hans Lid©n, a researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy and consultant thoracic surgeon at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. “A total of around 300 patients have been treated with heart pumps at the hospital over the years ““ and with good results.”

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,” says Lid©n.

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.

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