'Parachute' way to save heart patients

The Parachute Ventricular Partitioning Device is not only said to help improve patients’ lives but also reduce healthcare spending for the treatment of heart failure patients.

PETALING JAYA - The National Heart Institute of Malaysia (IJN) successfully performed Asia's first procedure on four heart failure patients this week using the Parachute Ventricular Partitioning Device.

Its chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Robaayah Zambahari said staff at IJN were thrilled after the Parachute procedure.

"There is a significant need for better treatment for patients with heart failure in Malaysia where heart disease is a growing public health concern," she said in a statement.

She explained that many patients experienced enlargement of their left ventricle after suffering a heart attack, with limited treatment options.

The device serves to partition the damaged muscle by excluding the non-functional heart segment from the healthy and functional segment to help decrease the overall volume of the left ventricle and restore its geometry and function.

Dr Robaayah, who together with consultant cardiologist Datuk Dr Aizai Azan led the procedure, said the four patients had been under conscious sedation and they had shown positive progress.

She described the Parachute device as an "innovative new option" which had demonstrated promising results, pointing out that surgical treatments for heart failure were invasive and typically performed in the later stages of the disease.

"IJN is confident this device will be able to not only help improve patients' lives but also reduce healthcare spending for the treatment of heart failure patients as a whole," she said.

The procedure was sponsored by the IJN Foundation which gave a RM1mil (S$340,000) grant to fund the first batch of patients.

According to IJN, heart failure accounts for about 10% of all medical admissions in the country.

Around 45% of patients are readmitted at least once within a year for acute decompensation.

The number of admissions for heart failure patients has increased significantly over the last three years, with more than 550 admissions annually.