CHENNAI: The research wing of a city hospital is working on a low-cost heart pump, which can cut the cost of the device from 1 crore to 5 lakh.
Mediville, the research arm of Frontier Lifeline Hospital, has tested the device, Bio QCA, on three pigs. Two survived the surgery and responded well, said hospital chairman and heart transplant surgeon Dr KM Cherian.
Patients with heart failure – who need a heart transplant – are usually given a mechanical device, an intra-aortic balloon pump, to help the heart pump blood. The device, which includes a catheter with a balloon, is inserted into the aorta, but can be used for less than two weeks. Side effects include infections or damage to the aorta. “The waiting time for a heart transplant is long. So we recommend sophisticated heart pumps,” said Dr Cherian.
“Most people in India don’t use heart pumps because they cost between 50 lakh and 1 crore,” said cardiac surgeon Dr Rajaram Anantharaman.
Recently, the hospital collaborated with Australian company QHeart Medical to develop a low-cost heart pump. “Instead of inserting it, this device is wrapped around part of the aorta along with the balloon. Like the conventional device, this does not need electricity. It works on the biometric pressure of the heart,” Dr Anantharaman said. “We will have to test the device on at least 30 more pigs before it can be tested on humans. It would take at least four years before it reaches the bedside, but we are excited because we know there is hope for a cost-effective solution,” he said.
QHeart Medical CEO Peter Walsh said his team would work to improve the device based on the inputs from the doctors in Chennai.