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World's First New DeBakey Heart Assist Device Implanted By Heidelberg Cardiac Surgeons

At the end of July 2009, a team of cardiac surgeons headed by Professor Dr. Matthias Karck, Director of the Department of Cardiac Surgery at Heidelberg University Hospital, was the first in the world to implant the HeartAssist 5 ventricular assist device, the modern version of the DeBakey VAD. The device augments the pumping function of the left ventricle in an especially effective, gentle and quiet manner. The pump weighs 92 grams and is made of titanium and plastic. It pumps blood from the weakened or failed left ventricle into the aorta. "Following the 3.5 hour surgery, the patient is doing fine, " reports Professor Karck. The 50-year-old woman suffered from heart failure that could not be effectively treated with medication.

Increased Risk Of Heart Attack And Stroke With The Use Of Smokeless Tobacco Products

Research just published on bmj.com reports that people who use smokeless tobacco products like snus (a moist powder tobacco product) have a slightly higher risk of having a fatal heart attack or stroke. Over the last couple of decades, there has been an increase in the number of people in Europe and North America using smokeless tobacco. Most new users are aged under 40. According to the study, since these products are being promoted as 'safer' alternatives to smoking cigarettes, the number of individuals using them is expected to increase. Dr Paolo Boffetta at International Agency for Research on Cancer in France led the research team. They examined the results of 11 studies carried out in Sweden and North America on the use of smokeless tobacco products and the risk of developing or dying from a heart attack or stroke.

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Survey Reveals Patients' Concerns About Diabetes Complications

The results of a Diabetes UK survey show that 80 per cent of those surveyed are concerned about having a heart attack, stroke or nerve damage; almost 50 per cent are concerned about experiencing hypoglycaemia; nearly 25 per cent have experienced sexual dysfunction; just under ten per cent have suffered eye damage; and eight per cent have cardiovascular disease. Diabetes UK conducted the survey with over 2, 500 adults affected by Type 2 diabetes. Everyday challenges "These results illustrate the everyday challenge facing those living with Type 2 diabetes, " said Dr Marc Evans, Consultant Diabetologist in Cardiff. "If not managed correctly, this condition has wide-reaching, long-term implications.

Stem Cells Guided To Damaged Tissue By Nanomagnets

Microscopic magnetic particles have been used to bring stem cells to sites of cardiovascular injury in a new method designed to increase the capacity of cells to repair damaged tissue, UCL scientists haved announced. The cross disciplinary research, published in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Interventions, demonstrates a technique where endothelial progenitor cells - a type of stem cell shown to be important in vascular healing processes - have been magnetically tagged with a tiny iron-containing clinical agent, then successfully targeted to a site of arterial injury using a magnet positioned outside the body.

Patients With Non-Valvular Atrial Fibrillation At Risk Of Stroke Could Have An Alternative To Long Term Warfarin Therapy

An article published in this week's edition of The Lancet reports that patients with atrial fibrillation at risk of stroke could be offered percutaneous closure of the left atrial appendage instead of long-term warfarin therapy. The findings are from the PROTECT AF study. The article is the work of Professor David R Holmes, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA, and collaborators. Atrial fibrillation is irregular heartbeat and the most frequent sustained cardiac arrhythmia. As the world's population ages, its occurrence is expected to increase. Atrial fibrillation causes the upper chambers of the heart to tremble. This can cause blood to pool and form blood clots in an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA).

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Less Is More In Blood Transfusion Study

A new study suggests that blood transfusions for hospitalized cardiac patients should be a last resort because they double the risk of infection and increase by four times the risk of death. The analysis of nearly 25, 000 Medicare patients in Michigan also showed that transfusion practices after heart surgery varied substantially among hospitals, a red flag that plays into the health care reform debate. A wide variation in care is a hot-button issue, as lawmakers and health reform experts discuss the best ways to address the variations. Some experts believe the country needs a system of medical guidelines, supported by scientific evidence, to aid doctors in decision-making.

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