Organ transplants are, in general, delicate operations not only for surgical techniques – even though nowadays they are reliable – but also for the fears that may arise from having to deal with this type of operation, which only takes place when there is a real availability of an organ for transplant. There are thousands of long waiting lists, made up of people who hope that every day (that often become months and sometimes years) is the day of the transplant. Research and technology are trying to meet the patient’s needs by creating a “bridge” that allows you to shorten the waiting time. In this way, the patients have more opportunities that the organ they need is available.
HeartMate III is an electronic heart, which a few hours after receiving the green light to its clinical use in Europe has already saved a man’s life. The first intervention in Italy has been performed on a patient with a serious heart defect by prof. Francesco Musumeci, director of Cardiac Surgery and the Regional Transplant Center of the Hospital San Camillo. He declared: “It’s the first and only left ventricular assist system designed to reduce adverse events through increased hemocompatibility (compared to the past) thanks to the use of magnets. In practice, the pump moves within an electromagnetic field with no points of contact and therefore friction, avoiding overheating and wear. This innovation minimizes the traumatic impact on the blood and its flow avoiding postoperative complications”.
HeartMate III is a small device – just 100 grams of weight –, which is implanted below the diaphragm with minimally invasive operations and then is connected, through a tube, to a small wearable external console that contains the batteries that run the pump. The device is biocompatible and effective; therefore it is a final therapeutic solution for patients who cannot undergo a transplant because of other diseases that make it impossible.
The clinical study CE Mark Trial has confirmed the effectiveness of the treatment, highlighting very positive data: total absence of malfunctions, pump thrombosis or haemolysis, and more than 92% cases of survival of the patients compared to previous devices.