We recently celebrated our 100th patient to receive a mechanical pump, or a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD), for severe heart failure. The milestone makes our Heart and Vascular Center the most experienced in the city and a unique resource for heart failure patients regionally.
Heart failure is the number one reason for hospitalization with at least one million new heart failure patients diagnosed each year. Many patients with severe heart failure struggle to survive while waiting to receive a heart transplant or are too sick to undergo the transplant procedure. Today, surgery to implant the compact, lightweight VAD provides a lifesaving option for heart failure patients in the region. We began offering the treatment option in 2011.
“The Christ Hospital has been committed to develop a multidisciplinary team of experts in cardiology, critical care, and cardiac surgery to expertly deliver VAD therapy to patients in advanced stages of their heart failure,” said Gregory Egnaczyk, MD, medical director of The Carl and Edyth Lindner Heart Failure Treatment Center at The Christ Hospital. “We are excited to celebrate 100 patients, previously left without treatment options, now living better and longer lives through the care we provide. We anticipate this number will continue to grow rapidly.”
VADs allow end-stage heart failure patients to live longer with a better quality of life. The device assumes the pumping function of the weakened heart, driving blood from the left ventricle to the aorta and then to the rest of the body. This action restores normal blood circulation and allows patients to resume many, if not all, daily activities.
Local resident Bruno Lanman was told at just 53-years-old that he was in end-stage heart failure. For years, it was successfully managed with a pacemaker and lots of medications, but after 13 years of medical management, his heart was no longer responding to all of the interventions. “My passion is my horses, and I would have to stop every several feet walking them out to the pasture just to catch my breath,” said Lanman. “My doctors said they were going to do everything they could to make sure I was back on my horses with the quality of life I deserved.”
Bruno was put on a long Heart Transplant wait list, but The Christ Hospital was able to provide him another option, the VAD, to help bridge his wait for a heart transplant.
“I went from a guy who could barely walk my horse four laps without taking a rest to being able walk around the farm with him for hours and doing even more than I could before I started having heart problems,” Lanman said. “I think everyone in the area, and the nation, needs to know about this revolutionary treatment. VADs really do give you back your quality of life. Christ is an outstanding program.”
Because of his passion to educate others, Bruno is now a VAD mentor at The Christ Hospital. He meets with patients contemplating getting the device and shares his own experience and successes to help them feel comfortable through the entire process.
We offer the most advanced treatments to heart failure patients in the region and are home to an experienced team of heart failure specialists, a dedicated heart failure center and recognition by The American Heart Association as a Gold Level Get With The Guidelines®–Heart Failure Quality Improvement Award for providing the highest standard of care for heart failure patients. Our VAD Program was selected by Humana as the first non-transplant hospital in Greater Cincinnati to gain insurance coverage for the procedure. The program has received The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval and has relationships in place to provide care for patients who are potential candidates for heart transplant.
Anyone suffering from the following symptoms should talk to their physician about heart failure: fatigue, chest congestion, edema or ankle swelling, shortness of breath. If you have been told you have end-stage heart failure and there are no other options, or told you need to travel for treatment, visit our heart failure section to learn more about your options close to home.