Sunrise Hospital is first in Nevada to implant the latest heart pump for advanced heart failure patients not eligible for a transplant; Las Vegas resident makes history by being first recipient of lifesaving therapy

Las Vegas, NV – Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center is the first facility in Nevada and among the first in the U.S. to implant Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), which provides a new option for physicians managing advanced heart failure patients in need of short-term (bridge-to-transplant or bridge to myocardial recovery) or long-term (destination therapy) hemodynamic support. The announcement was made today by Todd P. Sklamberg, CEO, Sunrise Hospital and Sunrise Children’s Hospital.

More than a quarter million people are currently living with advanced heart failure, many of whom need but are not eligible for transplant due to medical conditions or complications. LVAD provides a new, long-term option for those who do not qualify for a transplant. With the LVAD, patients may live with a heart pump as a destination therapy option, which means they will have it for the rest of their lives. Without this intervention, patients with advanced heart failure will often begin planning for end of life when presented with this diagnosis.

Sunrise Hospital performed 641 open heart surgeries in 2019 alone and LVAD is the latest, lifesaving procedure added to its growing heart program.

“What's historic about this procedure is this is the first time that a left ventricular assist device has been implanted in the state of Nevada, and we’re very proud that it happened here at Sunrise Hospital,” said Juan Lehoux, MD, congenital heart surgeon and VAD Program Surgical Director at Sunrise Hospital. “LVAD provides a therapy for end stage heart therapy that not only improves quality of life but prolongs life significantly.”

“The LVAD heart pump is a mechanical pump implanted above the diaphragm alongside a patient’s own heart and is attached to the aorta leaving natural circulation in place while providing blood flow throughout the body efficiently,” said Emeka Madu, VAD Program Coordinator at Sunrise Hospital. The patient wears an external, wearable controller and battery system that powers the pump. LVAD can pump up to 10 liters of blood per minute.

Las Vegas resident Juan Mares-Ramirez is walking proof of the successful LVAD program at Sunrise Hospital. “I totally feel like a different person, I’m more alive,” said Mr. Mares-Ramirez. “It is incredible!" Heart failure symptoms include: progressive breathlessness at rest, while eating, taking a shower or talking on the phone; worsening fatigue; reduced blood pressure; or progressive inability to tolerate standard medicine.

To learn more about LVAD, call Sunrise Hospital at (702) 961-7470.