In addition to open heart surgery and angioplasty, Stamford Hospital's Heart & Vascular Institute offers an alternative treatment that has proven to be less risky for select cardiac patients. The Impella 2.5 cardiac assist device, typically only found at larger academic medical centers, allows the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory team to replicate a bypass procedure and treat patients with severe underlying conditions, who would not otherwise qualify for traditional open heart surgery or angioplasty.

Recently the team used the Impella for the first time on a male patient in his 70s with advanced disease. The minimally invasive, catheter-based device supports a patient's cardiac function while blocked arteries can be treated, without the need for bypass surgery or even general anesthesia.

"It is amazing to have the ability to treat patients whose conditions make the traditional procedures too risky to perform, and who would basically have no other option," Edward Portnay, MD, director of the Hospital's Cardiac Cath Lab, said. "By using the Impella, we were able to perform rotational atherectomy, deploy multiple stents and restore the patient's blood flow. He was discharged the following day and should be back on the golf course in a month or so."

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Manufactured by Abiomed, the Impella is helping to create a new standard of care in cath labs across the country. The Impella 2.5 is the smallest heart pump available and can be inserted via a standard catheterization procedure through the femoral artery. Stamford is the only hospital in the area to currently offer treatment with this device.

Use of the Impella is just the latest standout feature of the hospital's Cath Lab, which has significantly improved patient survival and recovery following a heart attack with the rapid transfer of patients from the Emergency Department to the Cath Lab. The hospital's "door-to-balloon" timeframe, the speed in which a hospital can perform angioplasty or other coronary intervention in a patient who's having a myocardial infarction or heart attack, consistently meets the national standard of 90 minutes, 100 percent of the time.

In addition to the Impella device, Stamford Hospital's Cath Lab features advanced technology for the diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions, including: cardiac catheterization, elective or emergency angioplasty, pacemaker and defibrillator insertion and electrophysiology studies.

Stamford Hospital is a nonprofit provider of comprehensive healthcare services in lower Fairfield County and the region. The mission of Stamford Hospital is to provide, together with its physicians, a broad range of high quality health and wellness services focused on the needs of our communities. Stamford Hospital is a member of the Planetree Alliance, a group of hospitals nationwide focused on patient-centered care. Stamford Hospital is affiliated with New York Presbyterian Health System and is a major teaching affiliate of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.