Deborah Physicians Combine the World’s Smallest Heart Pump
with a Remote Navigation System for V-Tach Ablations
In a new breakthrough procedure, Deborah attending electrophysiologist Edmund Karam, MD, recently combined several cutting-edge technologies together to provide life-saving care for a patient with ventricular tachycardia (V-Tach) -- a life-threatening heart arrhythmia that originates in the bottom chambers of the heart and is often responsible for sudden cardiac arrest.
Dr. Karam is an expert in use of the region’s only Stereotaxis Remote Navigation System, which is able to provide a flexible, robotically-driven catheter ablation (delivered through the groin). This ablation delivers radiofrequency energy to destroy small areas of heart tissue responsible for the arrhythmia. This specialized technique has proven successful in managing V-Tach, allowing patients less reliance on multiple electrical shocks from an implanted ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator), which can sense when a V-Tach is occurring and will give the heart a shock to restore its natural rhythm.
Some patients, however, have advanced heart damage and progressive heart failure. Such patients were previously considered poor candidates for the Stereotaxis Magnetic Navigation System procedure because V-Tach in the damaged heart is often too complex to safely treat with the lengthy ablation procedure that is required for a successful outcome.
Dr. Karam, with the support of Deborah perfusion and anesthesiology teams, was able to circumvent this problem with the use of the Impella LP 2.5 heart pump -- the world’s smallest heart pump -- which provides the heart with active support in critical situations.
In use at Deborah since 2009, the Impella pumps up to 2.5 liters of blood per minute -- flowing continuously from the left ventricle into the ascending aorta -- allowing for critically-needed intervention care. Dr. Karam used the Impella to support a weakened heart while treating V-Tach.
“This is truly a breakthrough combination,” said Dr. Karam. “We are making tremendous advances in treating V-Tach patients with ablations. It had been frustrating in the past when we were unable to treat some of our patients because their hearts were too diseased to undergo the procedure. With the use of this new pump, we have been able to step forward in solving this problem.”
“This is one of the advantages of coming to a comprehensive cardiac center like Deborah,” he added. “Here, our teams work together, sharing our innovations and technologies. What works in our cath lab is shared with our OR and electrophysiology labs and visa versa. This spirit and philosophy of collaboration culminates in leading-edge treatments and, ultimately, unparalleled benefit for our patients.”