University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

News Article

Mini Pump Can Help Ill Hearts

UI Heart and Vascular Center now offers a new treatment for people who suffer from chronic heart conditions and are not good candidates for traditional heart surgery. The Impella 5.0 ® heart catheter functions as a short-term, mini-heart pump and works well for patients who:

  • Have a weakened heart after recent heart surgery (cardiogenic shock)
  • Cannot be taken off a heart-lung machine after heart surgery
  • Are waiting to get a long-term, implantable Ventricular Assist Device, or in some cases, a heart transplant

Impella Heart Illustration

Catheters are devices cardiologists insert into arteries to look for blockages, widen blood vessels narrowed by plaque, and help to steady uneven heart rhythms. The Impella 5.0 has a small heart pump about the size of an eraser on its tip. The catheter is guided to the heart and relieves the heart of its pumping function for up to six hours so doctors can perform other life-saving interventions.

UI faculty began offering the Impella catheter in October, 2010.

“With this catheter we can offer more options to get better to patients who previously had few choices,” said Elaine Demetroulis, MD, a cardiologist at UI Heart and Vascular Center. “And, unlike many other centers, we can offer this as a wrist procedure, which is more convenient for heart patients.”

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