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Role of heart-assist devices shifts as technology, management improve

From the Houston Chronicle

Dr. Brian Bruckner, left, a heart transplant surgeon, and Dr. Jerry Estep, cardiologist, display two versions of the left ventricular assist devices at Houston Methodist Hospital. “These patients have meaningful improvements in quality of life,” Estep says.

Six years ago, Brenda Mays was in and out of the hospital with heart failure so often that all the nurses knew her by name.

“I would go to the hospital on a Monday and get out on a Friday, and Sunday night, I was back in the hospital,” she recalls. “I was just so weak.”

Mays was ineligible for a heart transplant, so doctors suggested she get a left ventricular assist device – an implantable heart pump that would assist, rather than replace, her failing heart. She resisted until another patient told her how the device had changed his life.   Read more…


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