A high-tech heart device called the HeartMate II has been linked to a higher rate of blood clots, with some patients implanted with the device needing heart transplants or dying as a result.

Patients who received the pumping mechanism after March 2011 had nearly four times the incidence of blood clots as those previously getting implants, according to a study by researchers at three prestigious hospitals.

The Heart Mate II, generically an Implantable Ventricular Assist Device, or IVAD, helps pump blood through a heart too weak to do so on its own, and is used to sustain some patients while they await a heart transplant or permanently in patients to assist their hearts. The device, made by Thoratec Corp., has been used successfully to treat patients with advanced heart failure, most notably former Vice President Dick Cheney, who received his implant in 2010.

However, the hospital study found that the rate of blood clotting had risen to 8.4 percent after March 2011 from 2.2 percent in previous years. And the clots occurred much sooner, with a median time of just 2.7 months compared to 18.6 months in earlier years.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine and reported in a New York Times article, included data from the Cleveland Clinic, Duke University and Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Randall C. Starling, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, was quoted as saying he did not know the reason for the increase in the incidence of potentially fatal blood clots but that he believed it was likely related to the heart assist device.

Kline & Specter, PC, with more than 40 attorneys, several of whom are also highly skilled doctors, is a preeminent Philadelphia-based law firm that handles medical device and product liability lawsuits nationwide. At this time, we are no longer accepting claims relating to heart pump lawsuits.

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Heart pump - Thoratec Device News

News -- Thoratec’s Heart Pump Linked to Blood Clots in Research, Bloomberg News, 11/28/13