Tampa, FL — Largo Medical Center is proud to announce it is the only hospital in Pinellas County approved by Det Norske Veritas Healthcare, Inc. (DNV) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to implant a device restoring blood flow throughout the body for those with Advanced Heart Failure and for those who have exhausted other medical therapies. The device is called a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD). The first successful Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) implant at LMC was performed by a team of clinicians headed up by Christiano Caldeira, MD, Cardiothoracic Surgeon on 60 year-old, Seminole, Florida resident, Gregory Pruitt on Tuesday, May 14th.
"I could feel myself slowing down and now I have the time to spend that I want with my kids and grandkids," said Gregory Pruitt, Largo Medical Center's first LVAD Patient. "The hospital's team of nurses, techs and coordinators plus Dr. Caldeira gave me another chance at life and for that I am eternally grateful."
An LVAD is surgically attached to a patient's ventricle and to his or her aorta, the main artery that carries oxygenated blood from the left ventricle to the entire body.
"Candidates for this implant will go through an extensive evaluation process including lab work and diagnostic testing," said Christiano Caldeira, MD, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Largo Medical Center. "A multidisciplinary team of nurses to social workers and nutritionists to financial advisors then meet to review and approve patients based on select criteria."
Dr. Caldeira said a VAD can reduce heart failure symptoms and improve quality of life for many. The device can serve three specific purposes.
As a bridge to recovery: A VAD can be used to support a patient that is experiencing heart failure that may reverse itself after temporary support, such as viral infections and post-partum heart disease, amongst others.
As destination therapy: A VAD can be implanted permanently for long-term therapy in patients with severe heart failure who are not candidates for heart transplantation.
As a bridge to transplant: A VAD can be used to support a patient until a donor heart becomes available.
"Being able to offer this implant here in Pinellas County prevents our local residents who are in heart failure from having to travel far to receive the healthcare they need ," said Adam Rudd, Chief Executive Officer, Largo Medical Center. "In this first year of providing this service in the Largo Advanced Heart Failure Center we expect to perform 20 or more."
The DNV is approved by (CMS) to deem hospitals in compliance with CMS Conditions of Participation for hospitals. Largo Medical Center's Advanced Heart Failure Center was certified and approved for VAD on Thursday, April 4.