Strong Memorial Hospital helps over 600 patients with life-saving device

February 21, 2019 01:54 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – A local hospital is ranked among the top centers for heart pumps and patient survival.

Within the walls of Strong Memorial Hospital, doctors and nurses have helped more than 600 patients with a life-saving device called LVAD.

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It stands for 'left ventricular assist device' and has been used to save patients who need a heart transplant.

"There can be long waits for patients [for heart transplants] and a limited number of organs available. That really had led to more patients getting the LVAD to support them and recover from heart failure," explained Dr. Jeffrey Alexis, a cardiologist with Strong.

The device takes over the pumping function of the heart and is connected to the left ventricle and the ascending aorta.

Strong is not only one of the highest-volume centers in the country, but its doctors also introduced to the nation an innovative procedure to implant the device.

The surgeons who make up the Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery Program, Dr. Igor Gosev and Dr. Peter Knight, were the first in the country to implant an LVAD using two, three-inch incisions rather than opening the sternum.

As a result, Strong is seeing patients going home sooner, experiencing fewer complications, and recovering quicker.

Some patients who are unable to go through a heart transplant surgery can live with the LVAD for years.

"We're able to take patients who were very sick, who would have died otherwise, stabilize them, live, survive, and thrive," said Dr. Alexis.
Frank Rosinski, a retired school administrator, is one of those patients.

"At the end of January, I started to get a cold. The cold became more intense," he said, explaining doctors initially thought he had pneumonia. 

By February, he was in the hospital.

"I was in bad shape…realistically, I was barely alive," he shared.

His heart stopped three times. Doctors and nurses were able to revive him, stabilizing him until an LVAD was implanted.

Wednesday marks one year since that device was turned on.

"I'm alive. A year later I can say 'here I am' and I can enjoy the next day," Rosinski expressed, grateful for the support of his daughter, who is a PA, and his wife.

He's one of more than 600 patients who has received an LVAD at Strong Memorial Hospital.


Stephanie Robusto

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