Prague, Aug 13 (CTK) – Surgeons from the Prague-based Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) in cooperation with German experts have been the first in the world to perform a unique heart surgery without opening the rib cage, IKEM spokeswoman Varonika Velcova told CTK Thursday.
The team implanted the HeartMate III ventricular assist device into a 70-year-old woman suffering from an advanced stage of heart failure, using only a small incision between the ribs on May 25, Velcova said.
This surgery was the only chance of improving the patient’s quality of life, she added.
Within a continuing successful study, the IKEM will gain the assist devices for at least another five patients for free.
Before the surgery, the woman was confined to bed and was permanently connected to infusion. A heart transplant was not possible due to her high age and health condition.
After the operation, she is able to do common daily activities – she can go shopping, cook and take a stroll in her garden thanks to the “pump stitched on her heart” that is distributing blood in the body.
Because the surgeons only made a small incision, the wound healed quickly and the woman could start rehabilitation much earlier than after a traditional operation.
The HeartMate III new type of device was implanted in the IKEM for the first time on July 9, 2014. So far 11 patients have received the ventricular assist device in the centre.
“This novelty secures them a much better health condition and quality of life and it has increased their long-term survival after the surgery,” Ivan Netuka, main investigator of the European study and deputy head of the cardiac centre, said.
The IKEM has been selected as one of three world centres to follow up a pilot study within which its surgeons have implanted HeartMate III into the highest number of patients.
The average age of the patients with HeartMate III is 69 years, while almost 80 percent of them are men.
Thanks to the new method, the number of patients on the waiting list who died before a suitable transplant heart was found has considerably decreased.
The IKEM also helps develop these heart assist devices in cooperation with a technological centre in the United States. Within this programme, it has implanted a long-term heart pump into more than 270 patients.