Palomar Health Staff Train on the Smallest Heart Pump in the World


Palomar Medical Center Escondido heart surgeons, operating room techs and nurses, catheter lab staff and intensive care nurses received hands-on training with the world’s smallest heart pump on Friday.

The training took place in a massive tractor-trailer, brought to Escondido by Abiomed who manufactures the Impella, a small medical device that looks something like a fishing hook when deployed inside a patient’s heart.
Palomar Health Cardiologist Hamed Bayat, MD, says the device is “critical for the heart to not have to work hard during complex procedures.”

The Impella is normally inserted through a small incision made in the Femoral Artery in the right leg and fed (like an electrician fish wires a cable) inside the patient’s heart. The Impella’s job is to keep the patient’s heart pumping during and after surgery, for up to six days. In emergency situations such as heart attacks, Dr. Bayat says he can deploy the Impella in as few as five minutes.

Before the development of minimally invasive devices like the Impella, physicians used drugs to keep the heart pumping that, according to Dr. Bayat, placed more stress on the heart and had negative side effects.

The training on Friday gave cardiology staff a stress-free environment to practice various scenarios using dummies. It was also an opportunity to test the newest models that have higher blood flows, smaller dimensions and FDA approval for longer usage. Palomar Health staff have been using the Impella for the past four years and currently use five different models.

Staff train in the hospital on the Impella quarterly, but the mobile learning lab was a special opportunity that only presents itself every few years as the tractor-trailer tours the country.

Photo Caption: Dr. Hamed Bayat demonstrates the Impella’s function.

Photo Caption: The Impella is deployed inside the patient’s heart through the Femoral Artery.

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