News Seth Stratton | 6 years ago

Innovative Technology Yields Promising Results for Heart Transplant Patients

Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute celebrates the 30th anniversary of its heart transplant program on Jan. 6, with much to be proud of. In 2015, the program exceeded national one-year- and three-year survival rates, according to new data from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.

Under the leadership of Sanjeev K. Gulati, MD, Sanger’s one-year survival rate for transplant patients is 94.9 percent, compared to the national average of 90.4 percent. The three-year survival rate is 95.7 percent, compared to the national average of 84.3 percent. Much of Sanger’s success can be attributed to the growth of its Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) program over the past decade. A kind of mechanical heart, the LVAD is implanted inside a patient’s chest. It doesn’t replace the heart; it helps the heart do its job. “This new technology has helped our heart failure patients tremendously,” said Dr. Gulati. “It’s not only extending lives, but doing so more comfortably and more reliably than ever before. An LVAD helps restore normal heart function for the patient. This allows them to not only live longer but to feel more like they used to and feel more a part of society. It can even let the heart recover a bit by not taxing it so much. That’s big.” An LVAD can be permanent, but it can also be used as a temporary device for those patients waiting for a transplant. The transplant team at Sanger recently performed five transplants, implanted one LVAD and one total artificial heart in just a week. “I can’t say enough about the exceptional team we have here,” said Dr. Gulati. “Being able to pair innovative technology with exceptional care is such a privilege.”