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Hartford Hospital Doctors First in U.S. To Implant Right Ventricular Impella Device

October 31, 2012

On Oct. 31, 2012, doctors at Hartford Hospital were the first in the United States to place a right ventricular Impella device (a "mini heart") in a patient in shock because of a right ventricular infarction. This device is currently being evaluated by the FDA, and this surgery has been performed only eight times worldwide.

The right heart Impella is designed to support patients with right ventricular dysfunction that is usually associated with an inferior wall marked cardial infarction. The presently available support devices including balloon pumps, Impella, and tandem heart are useful to support a failing left ventricle but provide no right ventricular support.

The right heart Impella is a catheter that is placed from the inferior vena cava through the right atrium, right ventricle and is positioned in the pulmonary artery. There is a pump within this catheter. It withdraws blood from the inferior vena cava and pumps into the pulmonary artery (thus taking over the function of the right ventricle). 

The director of Structural Heart Disease, Dr. Ronan Margey, took the lead in procuring the device, receiving approval for implantation by Hartford Hospital's Institutional Review Board (IRB), and implanting the device in this patient. Drs. Dan Fram, Jeff Hirst, Fran Kiernan, Ray McKay, Immad Sadiq, and David Silverman were all involved to support this achievement.