Pitt researchers receive award to study heart pumps
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Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan have been awarded $13.3 million to continue exploring the future uses of small heart pumps to help people with heart failure.
Sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and HeartWare, which makes left ventricular assist devices (known as LVADs), the study will see if patients are helped by the devices if they are offered at an earlier stage.
Patients with congestive heart failure who receive the device are either waiting for a transplant or are not candidates for a transplant for certain health reasons, such as diabetes or obesity.
In the REVIVE-IT study, researchers will compare whether patients not eligible for a transplant but with heart failure less advanced than that of current LVAD recipients do better with the implanted devices than with current therapy. The pilot study will recruit 100 patients from selected U.S. hospitals.
Principal investigators include Robert Kormos, director of the UPMC Artificial Heart Program and co-director of the UPMC Heart Transplantation Program and Keith Aaronson and Francis A. Pagani, both of the heart transplant program and the Center for Circulatory Support at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Kormos noted recently that while a heart transplant is still the best treatment, 75 percent of those who have received an LVAD are still alive after three years -- a survival rate approaching those who received new hearts. In announcing the study Monday, Dr. Kormos said it will test the theory that the device will help an additional group of patients whose heart failure interferes with their daily lives, but has not yet caused serious conditions such as organ damage, malnourishment or immobility.
First Published February 15, 2011 12:00 am