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YNHH: a certified destination therapy center for permanent ventricular assist devices

2/22/2011 — Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH) has received certification from the Joint Commission - the nation's predominant standards-setting and accrediting body in health care - to implant left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) into patients with end-stage heart failure as a permanent or destination therapy, not just as a temporary bridge to transplant. The LVAD, which performs the pumping for the heart, is implanted into the abdomen, allowing patients to pursue their regular daily activities.

Destination therapy is an alternative to transplantation for patients with end-stage heart failure who do not qualify or are ineligible for heart transplant. By implanting a long-term LVAD, patients who are not candidates for a heart transplant have the opportunity to live more independently with a longer and higher-quality life.

"This certification allows us to have a tremendous impact on the lives of patients with advanced heart failure, who have no other viable options," said Donald Botta, MD, surgical director of cardiac transplantation and mechanical circulatory support at YNHH. "Without LVAD therapy, the two-year survival rate for these patients is less than ten percent, a prognosis worse than almost every cancer. With support from the new generation of LVADs, survival has improved seven-fold, and continues to improve."

As part of the Joint Commission certification process, YNHH underwent an extensive, onsite evaluation by a Joint Commission reviewer. To be certified, a hospital must meet several criteria, including having a surgeon with experience in implantable devices as well as a specialized team dedicated to doing the procedure.

YNHH Heart and Vascular Center is a national pioneer in developing new heart treatments and therapies. As Connecticut's premier referral center, the Center receives some of the most difficult heart patients from throughout New England - patients who come for heart transplants, high-risk valve or bypass surgery and angioplasty, as well as those who have irregular heart rhythms requiring an expert cardiologist. In 1984, Yale New Haven cardiac surgeons performed Connecticut's first heart transplant, and in 1987, began implanting Novacor artificial heart devices.

Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH), part of Yale New Haven Health, is a nationally recognized, 1,541-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the Yale School of Medicine (YSM). Founded as the fourth voluntary hospital in the U.S. in 1826, today, YNHH has two New Haven-based campuses, and also includes Yale New Haven Children's Hospital, Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and Smilow Cancer Hospital. YNHH has received Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the nation’s highest honor of nursing excellence. YNHH has a combined medical staff of about 4,500 university and community physicians practicing in more than 100 specialties.