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New technology helps heart failure patients.

Naperville Sun HealthAware column:

LVAD extends life for local heart patients
February 11, 2013

In June 2012 the Joint Commission awarded Edward Hospital certification for use of one of the newest technologies — Ventricular Assist Devices (VAD) — to treat heart failure patients not on a transplant waiting list.

The devices help diseased hearts pump blood throughout the body so patients feel less fatigued and move on to an improved quality of life.

“These devices can be an excellent alternative for people with end-stage heart failure who aren’t candidates for a heart transplant,” according to Dr. Maria Rosa Costanzo, medical director of the Edward Hospital Center for Advanced Heart Failure and cardiologist with the Midwest Heart-Advocate Medical Group.

While clinic staff were pleased with the certification, two recent anniversaries on the same day were even more cause for celebration.

On Jan. 24, Cosmo Guzaldo, 49, of Yorkville, the first clinic patient to receive a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) at Edward, marked one year since his implant, while second patient Kenneth Clowers, 68, of Earlville, hit the six-month mark.

Guzaldo’s earlier heart problems had led to congestive heart failure, a condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. He wasn’t a candidate at the time for a heart transplant.

Clowers’ heart failure had resulted from the effects of an earlier heart attack and diabetes. He chose not to be wait-listed for a transplant.

Cardiovascular surgeon Bryan Foy, of Edward Heart Hospital and Cardiac Surgery Associates, had implanted the Thoratec HeartMate II LVAD in both men. This involved placing the device in the patient’s abdomen and attaching it to the left ventricle and the aorta. The system’s controller and battery packs are carried in bags worn outside the body.

According to Suzanne Wallace, ventricular device coordinator at Edward Hospital and one of the clinic’s advanced practice nurses who regularly see the LVAD patients, “Both Kenneth and Cosmo are functioning beyond expectations. On the six-minute walk tests, for example, both are walking an average of 1,300 feet, which is amazing.”

Guzaldo says he no longer tires going up and down stairs.

“It took some adjustment at first, especially having to wear my unit in a water proof shoulder bag when I shower,” he says. “Now I’m used to it. I can do pretty much everything I want, except go back to work as an electrician — there might be electrical interference with the LVAD.”

Clowers’ biggest adjustment to the LVAD was sleeping while strapped to the equipment.

“Now I don’t even think about it,” he says. “I’m able to do more now than I did 20 years ago.”

Both men had been given only months to live without intervention.

“Without the LVAD or a transplant I wouldn’t be here for my kids,” says Guzaldo, the father of a 19-year-old son and 21-one-year-old daughter. “Now I’m feeling better and better.”

Through a partnership with the University of Chicago Medicine, the Edward VAD clinic also provides follow-up care for local patients who have had LVAD implants elsewhere, whether or not they’re waiting for a transplant.

“Having the convenience of follow-up care close to home has been very well received. It’s important to families,” Dr. Costanzo says.

Learn more about Edward Heart Hospital.


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801 S. Washington, Naperville, IL 60540 • (630) 527-3000

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