Some 200,000 people in Sweden have been diagnosed with heart disease, but some patients whose lives are threatened by heart failure can be helped by mechanical heart pumps, according to a report from the University of Gothenburg. In the study, 99 patients with life -threatening heart failure were treated with a heart pump in order to provide short or long term circulatory support.

"Two-thirds of these patients survived," said Hans Lidén, a researcher at Sahlgrenska Academy and also consultant thoracic surgeon at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, which are both connected to the university.

"Around 300 patients have been treated with heart pumps at the hospital over the years - and with good results," noted Lidén.

Heart pumps for short term support are used mainly for young and middle aged patients with acute problems, such as those who have had heart attacks. Heart pumps for long term support are normally used for patients with chronic heart conditions who are so ill that they are not expected to survive the wait - or the operation - required to obtain a new heart.

"In the group given short term support, around half the patients recovered sufficient heart function to be able to return home," reported Lidén. He added that most patients given long term support have gone on to have heart transplants.

Source: University of Gothenburg