BERLIN, November 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The 500th patient to receive an INCOR(R) ventricular assist device was implanted on 20 October 2009 at the German Heart Institute Berlin.
The 39-year-old male patient was suffering from dilative cardiomyopathy, a disease that causes the heart to enlarge and the heart muscle to weaken to the extent that it cannot provide enough blood flow through the body. The cardiomyopathy progressed to a stage where conventional treatment was no longer successful, and the patient was in urgent need of a heart transplantation.
Due to the severe lack of donor hearts in Germany, the waiting time for a matching donor heart can be 18 months or longer. Modern implantable ventricular assist devices are used to bridge the waiting time. With these systems, the heart function can be stabilized and the patients can be discharged home where they can resume a largely normal life.
Thus Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Roland Hetzer, Medical Director of the German Heart Institute Berlin, decided to treat the patient with an implantable ventricular assist device. Professor Hetzer describes the progress: "The implantation went very well, there were no complications. Thanks to our great experience with the INCOR device we could conduct the implantation very quickly. We were able to mobilize the patient shortly after the surgery, he is now in the cardiac ward. We are planning to discharge him into a rehabilitation center within the next few days."
Dr. Stefan Thamasett, General Manager of Berlin Heart, the manufacturer of the INCOR system: "Our ventricular assist devices play a crucial role in the treatment of patients with end-stage heart failure. The German Heart Institute has been a close partner in the development of the INCOR system. This center also implanted the first INCOR patient. We are excited to also be able to celebrate the 500th INCOR implantation with our longstanding partner, the German Heart Institute Berlin. The continuous cooperation with our users is an important factor of our worldwide success."
About the INCOR ventricular assist device
INCOR is an implantable left ventricular assist device for adults. The impeller, the only moving part within the pump, is magnetically levitated, which makes the pump worldwide unique and ideally suited for long-term support. Since the first implantation in June 2002 more than 500 patients have been supported with the system, some of them for several years. The longest support time so far is six years. In most cases, INCOR is implanted in order to bridge the waiting time for a matching donor heart in patients requiring heart transplantation. In rare cases the mechanical support can lead to recovery of the heart and subsequent explantation of the system. Increasingly these systems are also used as an alternative for patients who cannot receive a heart transplant and for whom these systems represent a life-saving alternative.
About Berlin Heart
Berlin Heart GmbH is the only company worldwide that develops, produces, and distributes implantable and external ventricular assist devices for patients of every age and body size. The company is market leader in Germany and Europe. INCOR is not FDA approved, but widely used in Europe.
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