Smaller, lighter pump for heart failure patients in Singapore

Patients with advanced heart failure here can now opt for a smaller and lighter heart pump that is easier to fit into the body.

The HeartWare ventricular assist device weighs just 160g and fits right next to the heart. It is attached to a battery-operated controller pack outside of the body, to be carried around the waist or over the shoulder of the patient.

Doctors at the National Heart Centre Singapore said the latest pump does not require a pocket to be surgically created underneath the heart to house the device, which is required for previous generations of heart pumps. This means surgery can also be completed in a shorter time, and is less invasive.

The device is meant for those with advanced heart failure but who are no longer responding to medication and their only options are to use a heart pump or receive a heart transplant.

Last September, Madam Helen Tan, 57, became the first person in Singapore to receive this new device. She has a long history of heart failure which kept her at home most of the time. With the new heart pump, she is able to move about freely.