(From WWAY News in Wilmington) — Novant Health’s Heart and Vascular program in Wilmington is introducing a new treatment option for heart failure. Darryl Hampton from Novant Health talked with WWAY Anchor Matt Bennett to shed light on this groundbreaking treatment.

Heart failure, as explained by Hampton, is a condition where the heart fails to pump sufficient blood to meet the body’s oxygen demand. This prevalent issue within the community necessitates innovative solutions, and Novant Health’s Heart and Vascular Program aims to address it through a new treatment option.

The spotlight of this new treatment is on the Left Ventricular Assist Device (L-VAD), a mechanically assisted device implanted in patients with weakened hearts.

“It essentially puts blood flow back to a normal blood flow, so that patients can actually have a better quality of life,” Hampton said. “They don’t have the same symptoms anymore, so they’re not short of breath anymore. They’re able to do the things that they weren’t able to do prior to surgery.”

Choosing a treatment option depends on various factors, and Hampton explained that medications and lifestyle modifications are typically attempted first. Advanced therapies, including the L-VAD, are considered when initial treatments prove ineffective. Hampton emphasized the importance of offering choices, particularly when open-heart surgery is involved.

“Patients can choose whether to have that surgery or not. If they don’t, then we do have other options to really help improve their quality of life,” Hampton said. “But ultimately, the L-VAD is something that can prolong their life and also improve their quality of life.

Post-surgery, Novant Health provides an intensive cardiac rehab program. This program involves a pre-hab phase to build up stamina before surgery and a post-op phase, usually initiated six to 12 weeks after surgery. Patients work with cardiac rehab staff on monitored exercise programs tailored to their needs, contributing to their physical and emotional recovery.

What makes this treatment noteworthy is its local accessibility. In the past, patients had to travel long distances for institutions offering such advanced devices. Now, with Novant Health’s program, patients can access these services in their local hospital.