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Percutaneous Ventricular Assist Device (Impella)

The heart is made up of two upper chambers (right and left atria), which receive blood from the lungs and the rest of the body, and two lower chambers (right and left ventricles), which pump blood out of the heart. The heart pumps blood to the entire body through the left ventricle and to the lungs through the right ventricles. Overworked ventricles progressively weaken and can lead to heart failure. Ventricular assist devices are artificial heart pumps that help the ventricles perform this vital function. They may be indicated when medication and pacemaker insertion (device that sends out electrical impulses to trigger your heart to beat rhythmically) fails to treat the heart failure.

Impella is a ventricular assist device that is small enough to be passed through a catheter inserted into an artery in your leg and advanced to enter your heart. It consists of a mini pump motor, an inlet area situated in the left or right ventricle that draws blood into the device and an outlet area in the aorta or pulmonary artery that expels blood into the body or lungs, respectively. The Impella device can pump 2.5 liters of blood per minute into the blood circulation, thereby reducing the workload of the heart.

The Impella provides short-term ventricular assistance as the heart recovers following surgery, or while waiting for a heart transplant or a long-term ventricular assist device.

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