High-risk cardiac patients at Overlook Medical Center now have another option for an improved quality of life
For critically ill cardiac patients, the availability of minimally invasive interventional procedures can be lifesaving. At Overlook Medical Center, those who are not candidates for open-heart surgery or those who would not survive being transferred to another institution now have access to the Impella® device, a mini heart pump that provides cardiac patients with the short-term support they need in order to get to surgery or to recovery.
“The sickest heart patients don’t necessarily end up at the door of one of the big university hospitals in an emergency,” points out cardiologist Rajiv Tayal, MD, director of Overlook’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab. “They end up in the hospitals that are closest to home. This is a big step forward for Overlook. We have been very progressive in doing radial catheterization procedures that are less invasive than traditional procedures and improve patient outcomes.”
Used in patients in cardiogenic shock or severe multivessel coronary artery disease (and in some instances of cardiomyopathy), Impella is designed to “unload” the heart. A suction port pulls blood out of the left ventricle and unloads it to facilitate the circulatory work of the heart. The procedure itself is minimally invasive and requires little recovery time.
With the aid of real-time fluoroscopy, an interventional cardiologist is able to thread the device through the femoral artery and up to the heart. Dr. Tayal, who serves as one of 12 proctors across the United States for Abiomed, the device’s manufacturer, also created a novel technique for inserting the device through an axillary artery closer to the chest wall.
“With this procedure, we are able to bridge the patient to the next step,” explains Dr. Tayal. “We have time to stabilize the patient and send him to transplantation or another surgery, or stabilize the patient and let him recover native heart function on his own. This gives us another option for improving outcomes for patients having a heart attack or patients in cardiac shock.”