“This study provides a strong basis for researchers to progress to human studies implanting the mechanical pump inside the left ventricle of the heart using three-dimensional intracardiac ultrasonography as a guide, and without ever having to transport the patient,” said lead author Professor Paul Bannon, Professor and Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery in the Faculty of Medicine and Health, Deputy Director of the Hybrid Theatre, Sydney Imaging and Head of Cardiac Surgery at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
“As well as all critically ill and unstable patients, this has potential to benefit the sickest COVID-19 patients who may not be able to be moved to the catheterisation laboratory or operating theatre for the traditional procedure due to isolation requirements.”
Unlike traditional ultrasound where probes go onto the skin, three-dimensional intracardiac ultrasound goes inside the blood vessels and is navigated inside the heart.
“The 3D ultrasound images are taken from inside the heart and this results in much better-quality images that can assist in complex procedures such as this,” said Professor Bannon.
The mechanical pump used in the study is a left ventricular assist device currently in use in Australia. It is used for patients undergoing high-risk heart interventions through the skin or in instances where the heart is failing to pump enough blood to support the body.
The translational study was conducted with sheep to replicate heart anatomy similar to humans.