By Maggie Oberst
Grey's Anatomy fans: Did you know that a
clinical trial for the new Parachute device featured on last week’s episode is
being conducted right here at UPMC?
After a heart attack, many heart failure patients experience enlargement of their left
ventricle causing a decrease in cardiac output and often heart failure
symptoms such as shortness of breath.
Treatment options for patients whose ventricle has enlarged are
limited. The Parachute device offers the
first minimally invasive catheter-based treatment to partition the damaged
muscle, excluding the non-functional heart segment from the healthy, functional
segment to decrease the overall volume of the left ventricle and restore its
geometry and function.
"Often times patients with large heart attacks
involving the front of the heart develop progressive enlargement of the chamber
and heart failure symptoms. Clinical trials of the Parachute device are
promising in terms of its safety and effectiveness at restoring ventricular
size,” said Catalin Toma, M.D., UPMC’s lead investigator on the trial.
On the TV show, Dr. Christina Yang – played by actress Sandra Oh – performed the operation to insert a Parachute device into a patient’s heart.
UPMC is one of as
many as 65 centers across the country that is participating in the PARACHUTE IV
clinical trial designed to evaluate the device’s effectiveness.