Next-gen Ventricular Assist Device with remote monitoring capability implanted for the first time in APAC at Fortis Memorial, Gurgaon
A team of doctors led by Dr Sandeep Attawar, Director & HOD, Cardio Thoracic Vascular Surgery, Fortis Memorial Research Institute FMRI, conducted the first ever implantation of ReliantHeart’s new HeartAssist5® Ventricular Assist Device (HA5 VAD) in the Asia Pacific region.
Early this year, 64-year-old Saleman Majid Ali from Kurdistan, was diagnosed with dilated cardiac chambers and an ejection fraction of barely 15-20%. Getting through his daily chores seemed like a massive task for Ali. Despite medical management back home, his quality of life had deteriorated rapidly and his condition advanced towards medically untreatable heart failure.
Doctors at FMRI operated on him and successfully implanted the HA5 VAD, giving him a new lease of life. The HA5 is the latest disruptive technology in VAD’s and is much advanced compared to its earlier versions. It facilitates remote monitoring of patient parameters and empowers clinicians with access to real time data such as the actual blood flow and the amplitude of blood flow like a remote ECG. These optimized features allow for faster and more precise diagnosis of potential issues. Importantly, patients draw comfort from knowing that their clinicians have ready access to their HA5 VAD’s performance at all times.
35-year-old Wisam Mawat from Baghdad, Iraq, contracted a respiratory infection early this year. While his infection got cured, the virus affected his heart and in March 2015, Mawat was diagnosed with heart failure. Doctors back home said that given his rapid deterioration, a heart transplant was his only hope. Mawat heard of Rabeea Majhool, a 30-year-old countryman who had undergone a mechanical heart transplant (Heart Mate II) at FMRI under Dr Sandeep Attawar in September last year and decided to consult Dr Attawar.
Dr Attawar conducted a mechanical heart transplant on Mawat, making him the second recipient of the advanced Heart Assist 5. This will enable his doctors and the device manufacturers to remotely monitor his vitals once he returns home.
Most patients with VAD implants are on their own, apart from their routine visits to cardiologists and clinicians. These VAD’s are largely unmonitored at home and problems like clotting or reduced flow due to dehydration can go undetected. This could potentially lead to life threatening complications. In a remotely monitored VAD such as the HA5, a microchip implanted in the device allows for minute-to-minute monitoring via a worldwide satellite network so physicians and the VAD manufacturer can continuously monitor the patient’s vital parameters, taking pre-emptive action in advance and making minor changes where necessary to medication using telemetry.
The HA5 is a mechanical pump that is implanted to support the left heart function when the left ventricle can no longer pump enough blood to sustain the body. Implanting surgeon Dr Sandeep Attawar, Director & HOD, Cardio Thoracic Vascular Surgery, FMRI, said, “The implantation was relatively simple and the HA5’s remote monitoring capability has allowed us to keep a close watch and proactively manage the patient.”
FMRI had in September 2014, carried out North India’s first Mechanical Heart Transplant – the Heart Mate II in a 29-year-old Iraqi patient. Both these implants were done by Dr Sandeep Attawar.
“The Indian government has taken steps to boost medical tourism by reducing visa restrictions and allowing foreign patients to stay in the country longer. Fortis is at the forefront of serving patients from around the world,” said Jasdeep Singh, Zonal Director, Fortis.
The HA5 is a “forward compatible” device in which existing patients will have an upgrade pathway to the Liberty system in 2017. The Liberty system is a power supply method that does not require a wire to connect the implanted device inside the body to an exterior controller and power supply. It rests just inside the body and is capable of being charged transcutaneously, freeing the patient from the hassle and possible infections due to a driveline, and providing them hours of untethered and unburdened activity. This device in its newest avatar is so small that children as young as 6- 7 years can also undergo this implant.