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Houston man first to go home with new LVAD

Houston, TX - 8/17/2010

Martin Tompkins’ heart was failing him—he could not walk three feet from his bed to the bathroom without feeling completely exhausted. However, after the 41-year-old received a new left ventricular assist device he’s going home with hope.

"I had to quit my job and couldn’t even play with my 6 year old little girl," Tompkins said. "I have faith that this new device is going to give me the time necessary to get a new heart. I can only see good things coming."

Tompkins received the Duraheart™ Left Ventricular Assist System. It helps the left ventricle pump blood from the left chamber of the heart to the rest of the body. It is implanted in patients with end stage heart failure and who can no longer be helped with medication. The Methodist Hospital is taking part in a clinical trial that is looking at the safety and effectiveness of Duraheart™. This LVAD is a third generation device following the MicroMed DeBakey VAD, developed by Dr. George P. Noon and the late heart surgeon Dr. Michael E. DeBakey at Methodist.

"This LVAD is a small pump that works on a lower rotation per minute and uses less energy. This means a longer lifetime for the pump, and fewer battery changes for the patient," said Dr. Matthias Loebe, a transplant surgeon with the Methodist Transplant Center and Director of Assist Devices at The Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center in Houston who has assisted in the development of the newer generation LVAD’s. "This "bridge to transplant" device will give Mr. Tompkins more quality time. We are hoping that a heart becomes available soon, but if it doesn’t, he should be able to live a number of years with the Duraheart™ LVAD."

Mr. Tompkin’s is the first patient to be discharged home on the DuraHeart™ LVAD in the Houston area.

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