Maglev Tech Makes Heart Failure Treatment Safer

Abbott's HeartMate 3 LVAD system is a life-saving, long-term option for heart failure treatment.

Diagnostics|Oct.22, 2020

A diagnosis of heart failure might seem daunting, especially if it comes unexpectedly. But heart failure is manageable and, for many people, heart failure treatment can even be the beginning of a new, healthier stage of life. That's because the first step to managing the condition is often to make positive lifestyle changes — eating a balanced and healthy diet, getting adequate sleep and practicing yoga or some form of exercise.

Sometimes those changes require additional support so that a person can continue living fully.

Tech for Heart Health

Two of the options for heart failure treatment are a heart transplant and a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). The waiting period for a transplant can be long and, depending on a person's age and health, surgery might not be recommended.

In that case, an LVAD can be a life-saving, long-term option for heart failure treatment.

An LVAD is typically a small, battery-operated device that is implanted near the left ventricle of the heart, the chamber responsible for pumping blood throughout the body. A failing heart doesn't pump blood properly and the LVAD allows the heart to pump more blood to meet the body's requirement.

A Magnetic Healthcare Innovation

Abbott's innovative LVAD design uses magnetic levitation technology, which allows the device's rotors to be fully suspended by magnetic forces. Older LVADs used hydrodynamic or mechanical bearings, which damaged plasma and blood cells as they passed through the pump. However, when magnets are used, there is no friction and no damage to blood or plasma. Magnets also keep the rotors in place regardless of their speed, which helps ensure that the pump is working effectively.

In these devices, wide pump pathways ensure that the blood cells are not damaged while passing through the device. A built-in pulse is programmed to keep the blood continuously moving through the pump, reducing the risk of blood clots. These devices are also smaller than previous models, making implant surgery simpler and safer.

Clinical trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine confirmed improved outcomes with the magnetic levitation flow technology and reported that people who'd received such a device experienced fewer complications such as strokes and blood clots. Rehospitalisations for pump replacement and removal because of malfunction were reduced.

A Long-term Alternative to Heart Transplant

The innovative magnetic levitation flow technology makes LVADs not just a bridge for those awaiting a transplant but a safe and long-term option for heart failure treatment. In certain cases, it can eliminate the need for transplant altogether.

If left untreated, heart failure can prevent people from doing the things they love. The life-changing technology of the LVAD doesn't just add years to people's lives — it empowers them to live their best lives.


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