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New Heart Failure Procedure Offered at MCCG

New Heart Failure Procedure Offered at MCCG

Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) Gives Heart Failure Patients Second Chance

MACON, GA (August 27, 2012) – The Heart Failure Center at The Medical Center of Central Georgia (MCCG) is pleased to announce the expansion of its heart failure program, which now offers Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) implantations for advanced heart failure patients. MCCG joins a select group of leading medical centers to offer mechanical circulatory support (MCS) for advanced heart failure patients.

 “We are expanding our capabilities of managing the really sick heart failure patients rather than referring them to a larger center outside of Macon,” said Dr. John O'Connell, Executive Director of the Heart Failure Center at the Georgia Heart Center at MCCG.

Patients suffering from advanced heart failure who have exhausted the limitations of other medical therapies may be candidates to receive the LVAD. Approximately three inches long and weighing 10 ounces, the Thoratec HeartMate II® LVAD attaches to the heart and is designed to assist or take over the pumping function of the patient's left ventricle. The device restores blood flow and improve survival and quality of life for those with advanced heart failure. Doctors at MCCG successfully implanted the first LVAD device on June 27, 2012. Since that time, three patients have received the Thoratec HeartMate II®  LVAD at MCCG.   

“These patients are so sick, and the LVAD is their last chance. In addition to extending a patient's life, their quality of life improves dramatically with greater than 80 percent having minimal to no symptoms of heart failure post-surgery. Seeing patients like Rodney Jackson come through this knowing he will be able to play with his children again is rewarding and exciting,” said Dr. Richard Harvey, Surgical Director of Advanced Heart Failure at MCCG.

Jackson, a former sheriff's deputy, has been a heart failure patient since 2005. He is one person who has benefited from the addition of the LVAD procedure at MCCG. Despite numerous measures that had been taken to curb the effects of his heart failure, Jackson became bound to a wheelchair last year. He also felt continuous stomach pains that were a result of his weakened heart. Physicians at MCCG determined that Jackson was an LVAD candidate, and on July 26, 2012, Jackson received the device.

After receiving the LVAD, the majority of patients, like Jackson, can return to their favorite daily activities, return to work and resume hobbies that they have not been able to do for years.

HeartMate II is the most widely utilized and extensively studied LVAD in history. As one of a select group of medical centers to offer this service to advanced heart failure patients, MCCG leads the field in MCS therapy and provides the highest standard of care for the Central Georgia region.

“These accomplishments provide us the capability to provide more options for those with advanced heart failure. Patients now have access to the full range of therapies for advanced heart failure without having to leave our region, and this puts MCCG among an elite number of hospitals who have the capacity to offer these programs. The future of our collective cardiac and vascular services is bright and we are well positioned to successfully meet the region's healthcare needs,” said Joe Lavelle, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at MCCG.