Doctors remove blood pumping device from Iraqi man after ailing heart recovers


PTI, Oct 6, 2021, 1:48 PM IST

New Delhi:  Doctors at a leading private hospital near here in a rare surgery have removed a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) from an Iraqi national after his ailing heart was found to have recovered completely, hospital authorities claimed on Tuesday.
The surgery was done recently at Fortis hospital in Noida and doctors at the facility claimed that so far, there are “only a few such cases which have been reported worldwide”.

A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is a mechanical pump that is implanted inside a person”s chest to help a weakened heart pump blood.

The LVAD was inserted in the patient, now 56, in 2018. He was diagnosed with “terminal heart failure”, the hospital said in a statement.

Dr Ajay Kaul, chairman, Fortis Heart and Vascular Institute, Noida, and his team of medical experts who performed the surgery in September, along with the patient, interacted with media persons on Tuesday.

The patient was extremely breathless when he had first come to the hospital and could not do routine activities, like taking bath without help. Since no surgical procedure was possible, he was put on a heart transplant list. While waiting for the donor heart patient, his condition started deteriorating and became so critical that he required life-saving machines and it was decided to put him on an LVAD, the statement said.

The insertion of the LVAD in 2018 had gone well and the patient was discharged from the hospital after two weeks, and on follow up doctors had found that the “heart support system was functioning well”, it said.

He went back to his country and was asked to come for a follow-up every six months. He was doing very well, but after one-and-a-half-year, he developed a “driveline infection”, it added.

“We tried to treat it, and during a routine check-up, we found that his heart had recovered completely,” the hospital claimed.

The team led by Kaul, performed an “extremely rare surgery, in which the ”artificial heart” (LVAD) of the 56-year-old patient from Iraq was removed through a complex procedure, after his heart had recovered completely”, it said.

The fact that his heart had recovered completely was “uncommon,” doctors said.

However, since it had, we reduced the speed of the pump. His heart was still functioning at optimum capacity, but doctors kept the pump running to be on the safe side, the statement said.

“We (doctors) asked him to come again after six months for a follow-up. We observed him over next one year, as we wanted to be very sure that the heart is functioning well without the support of the pump,” it said.

It was decided after due consultation with the patient that the LVAD would be explanted. It is a “novel surgical procedure” and the patient was discharged within five days of the operation and is doing very well, the doctors said.

“This explantation operation is a landmark procedure. It has been conducted for the first time in India, at Fortis Hospital Noida,” claimed Mohit Singh, zonal director of the facility.

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