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Mechanical Heart Program

Since 1991, the Mechanical Heart Program at Providence Sacred Heart Medical center has implanted more than 300 devices and has participated in multiple clinical trials. The Spokane Mechanical Heart Program is lead by Timothy Icenogle, MD (Director, Cardiovascular/Transplant Surgeon); Sam Joseph, MD (Transplant Pulmonologist); and Andrew Coletti, MD (Heart Failure Cardiologist), and is encompassed by a multidisciplinary team of nurse coordinators, mechanical heart engineers, a social worker, pharmacists, a dietician and a psychologist.

How it works

Mechanical hearts are most commonly referred to as ventricular assist devices (VADs, heart pumps) or total artificial hearts, which are surgically implanted for temporary or permanent treatment of advanced heart failure. VADs can be utilized to support the left ventricle of the heart (LVAD), right ventricle (RVAD) or both (biventricular or total artificial heart). The goal of the therapy is the same: to improve the quality and length of life.

A mechanical heart can be placed temporarily to allow for cardiac recovery, implanted for patients waiting for transplant (bridge to transplant) or as a long-term treatment (destination therapy) for those who are unable to have a heart transplant. Permanent devices are inserted into the heart and placed in a pocket in the chest or abdomen. An electrical line, called a driveline, exits the abdomen and connects to an external controller, which regulates blood flow and is powered by either a portable battery pack or an electrical wall outlet.

Hugh, a destination therapy patient, was implanted in 2007 at Providence Sacred Heart in Spokane, WA, with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). Hugh, a destination therapy patient, was implanted in 2007 with a left ventricular assist device. More than five years later, he is enjoying a high quality of life while living on his ranch in Montana.
Hugh was implanted in 2007 with a left ventricular assist device. More than five years later, he is enjoying a high quality of life while living on his ranch in Montana.

Destination Therapy

The Mechanical Heart Program at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, WA is certified by the Joint Commission for Destination Therapy LVADs.

Using the Kaplan-Meier survival calculation, our program's current Destination Therapy survival rate is 68 percent, which is slightly higher than the national average, based on the INTERMACS data base for continuous flow devices.

Devices in Our Program

  • Heartmate II (Left Ventricular Assist Device)
  • Heartware HVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device)
  • Syncardia Total Artificial Heart (TAH)
  • Impella (Catheter Inserted Temporary Device)
  • Thoratec PVAD (Paracorporeal Ventricular Assist Device)
  • Thoratec Centrimag (Temporary percutaneous Ventricular Assist Device)
  • TandemHeart (Temporary percutaneous Ventricular Assist Device)

24-hour Support

Our team consists of four mechanical heart coordinators and two engineers who are available to our patients 24 hours per day, 365 days per year in the event of an emergency. Our goal is to facilitate independence and quality of life and our team is dedicated to the health and success of our patients.