As essential it is to keep a heart pumping, as important is the need to obtain a pump that performs the task correctly. National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) introduced a new heart pump that has demonstrated an improved survival rate. The focus is not just on the improved survival rate but the fact that it has shown a significant performance for advanced and complex heart conditions. This new heart pump has been used in Singapore on Jan 21st, 2016 for the first time.
It was not a convenient walk for the NHCS to create this product. The process involved a one-year trial of 50 patients from six countries. The results from this trial showed a survival rate of 92 percent. In addition, 83 percent of the patients had decreased heart failure symptoms. This device was called HeartMate 3.
HeartMate 3 is a substitute of sorts for patients are waiting to obtain a transplant. Among this waiting list, was a patient (aged 44) who was the first one to receive it. Around 30 percent of these patients died during the waiting period due to unavailability of suitable donor hearts. After such a disappointing death rate, NHCS has performed 10 to 15 heart assist device implantations (with HeartMate 3) every year.
The device relies on reducing the risk of blood clot and has an artificial pulse that imitates natural heartbeat. Consequently, this also decreases the likelihood of stagnation and clotting of the blood which could otherwise result in stroke and pump failure. HeartMate 3 has the uniqueness of data storage, a novel feature, due to presence of inbuilt control electronics. This requirement comes with storing data on its parameters, speed settings, and a log to record continuous operations or anomalies, if any. In the unfortunate event of an issue of a transmission problem with the controller, it can continue running. The presence of two lithium batteries enable the patient to freely use the device for around 17 hours without recharging.