Heart pump implants in Brunei

National 3 minutes, 7 seconds


GLENEAGLES JPMC (GJPMC) has successfully performed mechanical heart pump implants – known as left ventricular assist device (LVAD) – on three patients since the procedure was introduced last November.

Professor Dr Lahpor Jakob from the Netherlands, a world-renowned surgeon in mechanical heart device implantations, said it was an achievement to perform the procedure thrice in six months.

“In other countries, they do this once every six months. But it is also a reflection of the disease in the population.

“There is a higher need here in Brunei, but I think there are a lot more patients who are not eligible for the implant at the moment, but what is important is to keep following up on these patients so that the decision to perform the implant can be made before the patient’s condition starts to deteriorate,” he said in an interview.

Currently, Professor Jakob said the team is seeing 10 patients who are not yet eligible for the procedure, but will need it in the future.

“This is why the optimal moment is the best before the patient really starts to deteriorate,” he said.

He added that nine of 10 patients survived the first year worldwide, which is better than results of heart transplants.

The mechanical heart device was implanted on 51-year-old Mumtazali Mohd Abd Aziz, who told The Brunei Times that he feels normal now, and will return to work at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports in Kuala Belait next month.

Mumtazali said he no longer suffers from shortness of breath, and is able to take longer walks on a daily basis.

“Before the implant, I was unable to walk. But now, I can walk for 30 minutes and even climb two flights of stairs. I do not have problems sleeping as well,” he said.

The LVAD, named Heartmate II, assists the heart to function with a continuously spinning rotor that helps circulate the blood.

Placed below the diaphragm in the abdomen, the LVAD is attached to the left ventricle of the heart and the aorta.

According to a previous report, Mumtazali has been suffering from heart disease for the last 12 years and experienced four heart attacks since 2002.

The LVAD was performed on November 11 by a surgical team led by Dato Paduka Dr Hj Isham Hj Jaafar, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon, and proctored by Professor Jakob.

Professor Jakob said GJPMC carried out the third left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implant last Saturday.

“Chronic heart failure is really a problem nowadays in the world, and we’ve learnt over the years that supporting the left ventricle is, in the majority of cases, the best way to go,” he said.

He said with these implantations, patients will be able to have a reasonably normal life, where they are fully mobilised and able to return to work.

Professor Jakob said the LVADs are now of such a good quality that they try to implant the devices a little bit earlier among patients with heart disease.

He explained that with their third patient, they picked him up a little bit earlier. “That is the way to go because you avoid any kind of adverse events or problems after the implant,” he said.

The three patients who have undergone the procedure are patients who were “frequent flyers”.

“They are the ones who go in and out of the hospital because they get treated, recover somewhat and return home, and in 10 days they return again. That is the moment you have to decide to carry out the LVAD procedure,” said Professor Jakob.

GJPMC Chief Executive Officer Dr Peter Tay thanked the Ministry of Health for its support in the “heart failure programme” and care towards the programme, so that Bruneians with severe heart failure could be provided with this treatment.

The Brunei Times