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Transplant Services

Ventricular assist devices offered in clinical trials at UCLA as a bridge to transplant and as destination therapy


Heart Transplant Program

Left ventricular assist devices, such as the Jarvik 2000, have the potential to prolong the lives of people with end-stage heart disease. At UCLA, principal investigator Dr. Hillel Laks leads a multi-site clinical trial that is testing this device as a “bridge” to transplant and as an alternative to heart transplants. At this time, two Jarvik pumps have been implanted at UCLA and more have been implanted throughout the country. The first phase of the clinical trial is complete and the pump is approved for further investigation.

Currently, more than 3,400 Americans await heart transplantation. The Jarvik 2000, created by Dr. Robert Jarvik who also invented the first permanently implantable artificial heart, provides another option to those patients with end-stage heart failure who may not survive long enough to receive a donor heart. The Jarvik 2000 is one of a number of continuous, axial flow pumps (e.g., DeBakey VAD, HeartMate II) that are in various stages of clinical trials in the United States and Europe.

Pump sustains circulation by assisting the heart’s pumping

Weighing only four ounces, the “C” shaped Jarvik 2000 is a valveless, electrically powered miniature pump made of titanium and steel. The device, which is about the size of a C-cell battery, is surgically inserted into the left ventricle of patients suffering from heart failure. It compensates for the work a damaged heart can no longer perform by propelling a steady stream of blood through the body.

The surgery is less invasive than with other heart assist devices and in some cases can be done without the heart-lung machine. With this device, there should also be a lower incidence of infection.

These pumps have the advantage of being implantable in smaller patients, adolescents and even children; the DeBakey Pediatric VAD is available at UCLA.

Candidates for participation in the clinic trials include NYHA FC IV patients on inotropic support/IABP or late Class III patients who are failing oral therapy.

Team members

Hillel Laks, M.D.
Professor and Chief, UCLA Cardiothoracic Surgery
Director, UCLA Heart and Heart-Lung Transplant Program
(310) 206-8232

Jaime Moriguchi, M.D.
Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCLA Cardiology
Medical Director, UCLA Mechanical Cardiac Assist Program

Mark D. Plunkett, M.D.
Associate Professor of Surgery, UCLA Cardiothoracic Surgery
(310) 794-7893

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