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Morristown Medical Center First in NJ to Use Newly FDA Approved HeartMate II Pocket Controller

Morristown, NJ, July 8, 2013 – With a 47-year-old patient implanted this morning, Morristown Medical Center is the first hospital in New Jersey to use Thoratec Corporation’s newly FDA approved HeartMate II Pocket Controller to help advanced heart failure patients maintain more active lifestyles. About the size of a smart phone, this latest generation of devices is a lighter and smaller controller for the HeartMate II left ventricular assist device (LVAD), and can fit in a patient’s pocket to power the heart to pump.

“The new controller is another wonderful step toward improving our patients’ quality of life,” said James Slater, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon and surgical director, Heart Success Program, Morristown Medical Center. “These are patients in need of long-term support for their survival, and we want to make their daily lives as active and normal as possible.”

Though transplants offer hope for about 2,000 advanced heart failure patients each year, more than 250,000 patients have no viable treatment option and are considered at high risk for repeated hospitalizations, severely diminished quality of life and limited life expectancy. For the 50,000-100,000 patients in the country who do not qualify for transplant, due to age or other extenuating circumstances, long-term therapy with a left ventricular assist device is an option.

“We are excited to offer the next generation of this incredible, life-sustaining tool to our patients,” said Linda Gillam, MD, chair of cardiovascular services for Atlantic Health System, which owns and operates Morristown Medical Center. “The new HeartMate II controller complements our extensive patient education program with its ease of use. We expect patients and families to adapt more quickly and feel more confident in using their device at home and on the go.”

The HeartMate II Pocket Controller received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May. It is lighter and more compact than previous LVAD system controllers, and it features an intuitive user interface with enhanced information content. With a single-side cable design, the device can slide easily and discreetly into a front pocket. The Pocket Controller has also been designed to promote patient safety, through features including prioritized visual alarms, on-screen instructions, and a backup battery, which can provide at least 15 minutes of full power during periods of inadvertent disconnections from power sources.

To date, more than 14,000 patients have been implanted with HeartMate II, including more than 6,000 currently on support. In February 2010, a 71-year-old Morristown Medical Center patient became the first in the nation to receive the HeartMate II Left Ventricular Assist System as a Destination Therapy device. The device received FDA approval in January 2010 for Destination Therapy, which is a long-term treatment option for patients suffering from advanced-stage heart failure but who do not qualify for a heart transplant.

Since 2010, nearly 40 patients have been implanted through the Heart Success Program at Morristown Medical Center. Heart Success is a comprehensive inpatient and outpatient management program designed to provide specialized heart care for patients with advanced heart failure, cardiomyopathies and pulmonary hypertension. The heart failure team, including specialized RNs, nurse practitioners, dieticians and pharmacists, evaluates heart patients and develops a comprehensive plan of heart care for both the patient and family.

For more information about the Heart Success Program at Morristown Medical Center, please call 973-971-4179.

About Atlantic Health System
Atlantic Health System is one of the largest non-profit health care systems in New Jersey, comprised of Morristown Medical Center, Overlook Medical Center in Summit and Newton Medical Center. The three medical centers – all accredited by The Joint Commission – have a combined total of 1,308 licensed beds and more than 2,750 affiliated physicians providing a wide array of health care services to the residents of Northern and Central New Jersey. Specialty service areas include advanced cardiovascular care, pediatric medical and surgical specialties, neurology, orthopedics, and sports medicine. Each of these programs has earned top ratings and recognitions in their respective fields. Atlantic Health System is the official health care partner of the New York Jets and an official health care provider of the New Jersey Devils.

Morristown Medical Center’s Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute performs more heart surgeries than any other hospital in New York or New Jersey, and is one of 20 facilities across the country to perform catheter-based repair and replacement of valves on both sides of the heart. Atlantic Health System’s spine program – where surgeons perform more spine surgery than anywhere else in New Jersey – is one of just 13 hospitals across the country that has received the Gold Seal of Approval™ from The Joint Commission, achieving Disease-Specific Care Certification for cervical and lumbar spine treatments. With the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute based at Overlook Medical Center, the hospital serves as the hub for the New Jersey Stroke Network, and serves about 40 percent of the state’s stroke patients. The system’s Goryeb Children’s Hospital offers more than 100 board-certified physicians in 20 pediatric specialties. Morristown Medical Center is verified as a Level I Regional Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons and designated a Level II by the state of New Jersey.

Atlantic Health System has been chosen for the past three consecutive years by FORTUNE® as one of the magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For®.” The organization has also been recognized four times by AARP as one of the “Best Employers for Workers over 50.” Inside Jersey magazine partnered with Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. and ranked Morristown Medical Center as the No. 1 hospital in New Jersey and the No. 1 hospital for treatment of heart failure and coronary surgery in the state. The survey findings also establish Overlook as No.1 for the treatment of neurological disorders and stroke in NJ. Atlantic Health System is a Major Clinical Research Affiliate with The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and is an affiliate of The Mount Sinai Hospital and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Media Contacts:

  • Pam Garretson
  • Manager, Public Relations
  • Morristown Medical Center
  • Atlantic Health System
  • 973-971-4932
  • Email
  • Morristown Medical Center
  • 100 Madison Avenue
  • Morristown, NJ 07960
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Morristown Medical Center

100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960

Overlook Medical Center

99 Beauvoir Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901

Newton Medical Center

175 High Street
Newton, NJ 07860

Chilton Medical Center

97 West Parkway
Pompton Plains, NJ 07444

Hackettstown Medical Center

651 Willow Grove Street
Hackettstown, NJ 07840

Goryeb Children's Hospital

100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960

Affiliated Providers

Atlantic Medical Group

More than 900 health care