Deborah Heart and Lung Center reaches mechanical heart pump milestone

100 left-ventricular assist device implants done at the hospital

In a remarkable achievement extending the lives of 100 critically ill patients, Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Browns Mills recently implanted its 100th Heart Mate 3 left-ventricular assist device. These mechanical pumps support the hearts of patients who are in severe advanced heart failure. The devices can be used as a temporary measure while a patient is waiting for a heart transplant, or it can be a “destination” therapy used for long-term life support.

Mark Harding was one of those destination patients. In 2019, Harding received his LVAD, and has enjoyed another full four years of life.

“I am so happy to have received my LVAD,” he said. “It has given me years of happiness and good times with my wife, Christine. I am looking forward to many more fulfilling years ahead of me.”

According to cardiologist Dr. Kulpreet Barn, director of Deborah’s Advanced Heart Failure Program, the LVAD milestone puts Deborah on the map as one of the most robust LVAD programs in the country.

“We have built this program from the ground up,” he said. “We now have done more Heart Mate 3 LVAD implants than any other program in New Jersey. We are also among the top programs in the country. While quality and outcomes are far more important than volume numbers, why this milestone matters is that LVAD implants are exceptionally complex surgical procedures. The more implants a hospital does, the better they get, and the more able the surgical team is to anticipate — and circumvent — any problems during implant.”

An LVAD is a surgically implanted pump that is battery-operated with a pack that is worn on the outside of the body. This mechanical pump helps the left ventricle — which is the main pumping chamber of the heart — pump blood to the rest of the body.