By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Maimonides Medical Center hosted a party for heart patients whose lives doctors saved with a piece of cutting edge technology that has only been in use at the hospital for a year. Dozens of patients from all over Brooklyn came to the April 26 party to celebrate their recovery stories with their doctors and nurses. The party marked the first anniversary of the Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), which was introduced into the treatment options at the hospital in early 2012.
The LVAD is an implantable device that essentially powers a failing heart suffering from advanced congestive heart failure (CHF).
Maimonides, at 4802 10th Ave. in Borough Park, is the only hospital in Brooklyn and one of only a handful of medical facilities in the country using the LVAD, according to hospital officials.
A team of cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, anesthesiologists, and nurses works together to facilitate the LVAD procedure in the hospital.
“Our patients are here today smiling and enjoying every moment together. They’re talking about what Mets or Yankees games they plan on attending, which vacation they’re going on next and more,” said Dr. Norbert Moskovits, co-director of the LVAD Program. “Before undergoing the LVAD procedure, these patients had a hard time leaving their homes. It’s truly spectacular how drastically this device can improve one’s quality of life,” he said.
The afternoon included a photo slideshow of each patient as they recovered from the LVAD procedure, and a recognition of all those involved in the patient’s care.
“After receiving our accreditation from the Joint Commission, we were inspired by the possibilities we knew this program would deliver,” said Dr. Paul Saunders, co-director of the LVAD Program at Maimonides. “Seeing our patients here today is a very gratifying experience. We’re so happy to have this device and the expertise to make a difference,” he said.
One benefit of the LVAD procedure is that patients can return to most of their normal activities, doctors said. Patients can travel abroad, ride in trains or airplanes, and drive cars. Because an LVAD takes over for the failing heart, patients are once again able to walk for longer distances, climb stairs, and perform many other physical activities which would have previously been impossible, doctors said.
“When the doctors approached me with this fascinating new program, they said, ‘The program will cost millions of dollars, but it will be worth it.’ And as I look at the healthy, energetic faces in this room, I know that it was worth every penny and then some,” Maimonides President and CEO Pamela S. Brier told the patients at the party.
The Maimonides LVAD team provides care for people with advanced heart failure. The LVAD Team consists of surgeons, cardiologists, nurses and many others. For more information on the LVAD program, call 718-283-5243.