World's smallest heart pump helps Valley heart patients

FRESNO, Calif. Cirilo Pamandanan of Fresno patiently waits to have a heart procedure at Community Regional Medical Center -- the fourth one in his lifetime. His cardiologist needs to clear blocked arteries, but Cirilo isn't too nervous about the process.

"This one is a very simple procedure".

Doctors have told Cirilo and his wife, Linda that he'll have a tiny device called "the impella" inserted into his heart that will help doctors perform the delicate procedure.

"It should help him out a lot," said Linda Pamandanan, "and it will relieve me of worries".

At 74-years-old with a history of heart disease, Cirilo would have been out of options if it weren't for a new device that doctors call, "the world's smallest heart pump"

This animation provided by the Abiomed Company shows how a catheter with the pump inside goes into the body through an incision in the groin and into the left ventricle of the heart. Once inside, a tiny electrical motor pulls blood out of the heart's chambers to the rest of the body...which lowers the risks associated with heart surgeries.

"It provides a continuous flow of blood to the vital organs so it's a good assist device for us which enables us to do high risk angioplasty or stent procedures which we couldn't do before," said Cardiologist Bipin Joshi, MD.

The impella procedure is minimally invasive and can be done in the cath lab.

Cirilo is only the third patient at Community Regional to have the impella device in his heart. Dr. Joshi and the cardiac team watch their progress on x-ray monitors as they guide the impella device into Cirilo's heart.

Dr Joshi says since the impella helps the heart maintain blood flow through the body, it helps reduce the risks of dropping blood pressure, shock and a heart attack during the patient's heart procedure. It's a tiny device offering a big helping hand to improve a patient's quality of life.

The "impella device" can stay in the heart to help the patient recover, but since the procedure doesn't involve major surgery, most patients can go home the next day. Doctors at Community Regional Medical Center say, now that the procedure is offered in the Valley, patients don't have to travel to other cities to get it.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.