Kazakh, international health experts present cutting-edge heart surgery technology in Astana

ASTANA – Leading Kazakh and international experts presented a fully implanted ventricular assist device (FiVAD) at a Feb. 6 press conference in Astana titled Groundbreaking System for Patients with Failing Heart.

The first human use of a wireless coplanar energy transfer with a continuous-flow left ventricular assist device (LVAD) was carried out in the capital’s National Research Cardiac Surgery Centre last month, said its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Yuriy Pya.

The centre offers cardiology, interventional cardiology, cardiac surgery, intervention arrhythmology, rehabilitation, radiodiagnosis and laboratory diagnosis, treating both children and adults. Its scientific progress has contributed to Kazakhstan entering the top 30 leading countries in cardiac surgery complexity.

Eight years ago, LVAD implantation had never been carried out in Kazakhstan, despite great demand among patients with end-stage heart failure. Now, the procedure is routine at the centre. Twenty-four-year-old Ismayil Tursunov is the first patient to have undergone a new procedure with Leviticus Cardio’s FiVAD, and international experts made the trip to Kazakhstan to see his transformation in person.

“More than 25 million people in the world have heart failure, and the majority will die [from this illness]. Heart transplants are an option that will, eventually, treat only 4,000 people,” said University of Chicago Professor of Medicine Nir Uriel on the prognosis for most advanced-stage heart failure patients. “In Astana, you are taking technology a step up and producing a solution for those patients that, without this technology, would not be alive.”

Kazakhstan’s newest contribution to LVAD implantation was recorded in an academic article in the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation and not lost on the journal’s Editor-in-chief and Harvard Medical School Professor of Medicine Mandeep Mehra.

“While we can sustain life with [left ventricular assist] devices, which have become better, these devices were not fully internalised – not contained within the body and connected to a battery outside it, a big problem in the field,” he noted. “The scientists before you, through their sheer hard work, have been able to move the field toward convenient LVAD implantation. This is a critical advent in our field and should not be taken lightly.”

The FiVAD removes the risk of infection often caused by the transcutaneous drive line, which protrudes from the abdomen in standard ventricular assist devices. Patients can also walk without external equipment up to 8 hours a day.

“[The new technology] is a potential game changer for patients’ quality of life. It restores patients to a life that they want to lead, in which they can swim, take showers and engage in normal life activities,” he added.