Small device helps during heart procedures -

Small device helps during heart procedures

Approximately five million Americans have congestive heart failure, and of those, nearly half will be dead in just five years. But a tiny tool is pumping hope back into the fight against heart disease.

Looking at him now, you'd never know less than two months ago Larry Bonaventure was technically dead on arrival at Lane Regional Medical Center,

Larry had a heart attack, and they didn't know if he would make it through the night.

If not for the Impella 2.5 - also known as a left ventricular assist device or l-vad - Larry's heart doctor Deepak Thekkoot says he probably would have died.    

The device is about the size of a pencil eraser, and is inserted through a tiny incision in the groin. Once it's activated, the Impella can pump up to two and half liters of blood every minute.

The Impella gives doctors time to eliminate blockages and insert stents that prop open arteries that restore blood flow to the heart - often, in patients who would not survive procedures that require major surgery.

Heart pump technology is not new, but the size of the Impella device makes it possible to use on more patients - which means more saved lives.

Copyright 2011 America Now. All rights reserved.

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