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The world’s smallest heart pump is revolutionizing how physicians treat heart failure

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Houston, TX (Sept. 30) – The Abiomed Mobile Learning Lab made a recent stop at the Texas Medical Center outside of Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center (Baylor St. Luke’s) to showcase a tiny life-saving device that’s revolutionizing the way patients with failing hearts are treated.

The Impella heart pump – the only minimally-invasive device used to support adequate heart function and blood flow in patients in critical need of cardiac support – was on full display in an interactive training that offered a rare opportunity for physicians and clinical staff to see firsthand how the device works.

The demonstration was hosted by the device maker, Abiomed, as part of a national tour that takes the device through several cities across the country. The 90-foot-long truck made a stop outside of Baylor St. Luke’s for a day-long demonstration where expert trainers simulated prepping, positioning and inserting the Impella device.

“This technology is giving cardiologists a new tool to treat patients that need high-risk cardiogenic percutaneous revascularization procedures,” said Dr. Andrew Civitello, medical director of the heart transplant program at Baylor St. Luke’s. “It’s a revolutionary technology that can help patients with weak hearts or very complex coronary anatomies undergo a surgical procedure or a percutaneous revascularization procedure, like an angioplasty or a stent.” 

While this device is used mostly in patients whose hearts are too weak to undergo high-risk percutaneous interventions, Dr. Civitello said the technology is also used to recover a patient’s heart or bridge them to a long-term support device or to a heart transplant.

The Impella heart pump is the only minimally invasive, FDA-approved device that serves this purpose while offering fewer risks and complications. Other catheter-like devices; for instance, may require for blood to leave the body, which can lead to bleeding and other complications. And unlike most other devices, the Impella heart pump actually unloads the heart, which means there’s greater potential to recover the heart.

“This device has given us the opportunity to take care of a group of patients that we previously didn’t have a way to care for,” said Dr. Civitello. “This is revolutionary technology that’s helping the doctors and the nurses stabilize and save lives.”

Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center was an early adopter of this revolutionary technology dating back to the early trials stage and it now performs approximately 150 implants every year. The Impella Mobile Learning Lab has made stops in 85 cities since 2015. For more information, visit

About Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center

Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is an 881-bed quaternary care academic medical center that is a joint venture between Baylor College of Medicine and St. Luke’s Health. Located in the Texas Medical Center, the hospital is the home of the Texas Heart® Institute, a cardiovascular research and education institution founded in 1962 by Denton A. Cooley, MD. The hospital was the first facility in Texas and the Southwest designated a Magnet® hospital for Nursing Excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, receiving the award five consecutive times. Baylor St. Luke’s also has three community emergency centers offering adult and pediatric care for the Greater Houston area.

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