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Wheeling Hospital Only Hospital in Region With Special Device for COVID Patients in Heart Failure

December 4, 2020

WHEELING, W.VA. – Wheeling Hospital now has the latest technology for use with COVID-related heart failure. The Impella RP has received FDA emergency use authorization, and Wheeling Hospital is the only facility in the region with the technology.

The Impella RP temporary heart pump provides circulatory support for patients with right side ventricular failure. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Impella RP has been used for treating right heart failure or decompensation, including pulmonary embolism. It can be deployed in minutes using a minimally invasive technique.

Christopher Allen, M.D., chief of Cardiology at Wheeling Hospital, said, “Acute pulmonary embolism is clearly being recognized as a life-threatening side effect of COVID-19. Impella RP helps cardiologists save lives during this pandemic.
“Early recognition of right ventricular dysfunction and early placement of the Impella RP for patients who are hypotensive can be life-saving.”

Meanwhile, in certain cases, COVID can entirely overwhelm the lungs and in turn, negatively affect the heart. If a COVID patient requires additional support for their heart and lungs, ECMO, or Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, may be an option. This technology is used when all other medical options have been exhausted in patients whose lungs cannot provide enough oxygen to their body or rid themselves of carbon dioxide. It can also be used for patients whose heart cannot pump enough blood to the body.

By supporting the heart and lungs, the ECMO machine, managed by a perfusionist, stabilizes patients to allow their body more time to fight the virus.

Wheeling Hospital’s Perfusion Department has teamed up with WVU Medicine’s perfusion team to develop criteria for ECMO insertion of critical COVID-19 patients as well as transport criteria to WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, which is an Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) accredited hospital.

“Our partnership with WVU Medicine and the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute further strengthens our commitment to providing the safest cardiovascular care right here at Wheeling Hospital,” Darby Teahan, chief perfusionist, said.

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Contact: Thea Gompers, Director, Marketing/Public Relations 304-243-3705
Wheeling Hospital

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