By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Hutchinson Regional Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Unit for the first time used the Impella 5.5 heart pump, the world’s smallest, to successfully treat a patient.
"When you have a heart, normally it's a V-8 engine, it's really pumping blood well and doing amazing things, then you have a heart attack, or through the process of heart disease, that normally functioning heart is reduced down to a four-cylinder engine," said Chuck Welch with Hutchinson Regional. "The Impella device would be similar to the turbo, through efficiencies and improving blood flow, the Impella can actually improve the performance of that heart."
The tiny Impella 5.5 heart pump is placed inside a catheter with an electric motor that delivers 5.5 liters of blood flow per minute to the body. This process allows the heart to rest and recover.
"Because that heart is weakened and possibly sick, it takes off the workload," Welch said. "It's able to improve functionality while letting the heart rest in between."
Many patients can undergo major heart procedures without the support of a heart pump; however, patients with critical blockage or a weak heart muscle may require additional support provided by the Impella 5.5.
Dr. Robert Fleming of Hutchinson performed the procedure earlier this month.