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A New Pump for the "Sickest" Heart Patients

University of Colorado Hospital has a powerful new tool to treat "the sickest of the sick" heart patients.

John Carroll, MD, uses a model of a heart
to show where the TandemHeart pump
is inserted.

Called the TandemHeart® System, it's a circulatory-support device for patients who need strong circulatory help during surgery or interventional care or while awaiting a transplant, among other ills.

UCH's Cardiac and Vascular Center often uses a much smaller device, the Impella 2.5, in artery-opening procedures for patients who require a modest degree of mechanical left ventricle support. It can pump 2.5 liters of blood per minute.

Better for longer interventions

Because the TandemHeart pumps up to eight liters per minute, it can be used for procedures that require longer interventions.

"The Cardiac Surgery service can use it for either right or left ventricular support but without the need for opening the patient's chest," notes John Carroll, MD, the Cardiac and Vascular Center's director of Interventional Cardiology.

Use of the device is also an option in the Electrophysiology Lab for ventricular tachycardia ablation, which involves using an electrode-tipped catheter to destroy tissue that short-circuits the heart's normal electrical patterns and causes irregular heartbeats.

Find out more

Request an appointment at UCH.

This page is adapted from a story that appeared in the UCH Insider, the hospital's candid e-newsletter. The Insider, which is published biweekly, is available to people outside the hospital via a free e-mail subscription. Tyler Smith ( is managing editor of the Insider.

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