New device helping heart attack patients recover faster

Heart attacks can happen in an instant.

But at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, a new device is helping patients recover faster after having one.

So far, the device, called the Impella, has only been used in 1,000 patients across the U.S., including Larry Clark, a Central Kentucky man.

Clark is an avid hiker and father from Danville. He thought he was in good health, until this past December.

"I was out doing a little early Christmas shopping," Clark said. "I got winded when I went from the store to the parking lot, but then I went on to work and didn't think much about it."

Throughout the day, the shortness of breath continued. By that night, the 56-year-old was being rushed to the hospital.

By the time Clark was admitted at Central Baptist Hospital, he was in cardiac arrest.

"In the hours, days after his surgery, Mr. Clark was very sick, and his heart recovery was not doing very well despite all the medications," Cardiologist Dr. Hussam Hamdalla said.

When a patient has a heart attack, the heart stops pumping blood, often times causing damage to other organs. Larry Clark's heart was laboring to do just that.

He needed the help of a new device called the Impella. It's only been used on a few patients at Central Baptist.

Inserted through a pin prick in the groin, the Impella goes up the aorta into the left ventricle of the heart. The device pulls blood into the aorta and through the body, allowing for much better blood flow and circulation while reducing stress on an already weakened heart.

The Impella is only meant to be a temporary device.

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