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Feb 4, 2010 7:55 PM by Andy Koen

New heart pump can save lives

The doctors at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs will soon be using new lifesaving cardiac equipment.

The TandemHeart Circulatory System manufactured by CardiacAssist Inc. pump helps critically ill patient by pumping blood through their bodies and letting their heart rest.

Dr. John Mehall, a cardiac surgeon at Penrose, says the heart continues to beat even with the pump attached.

However, by doing the work of circulating blood, it allows the heart to "rest" and recovery from surgery.

Over the summer, Dr. Mehall and his colleagues at Penrose actually built a similar device themselves for a patient who came in with a critical case of H1N1 Flu.

"We were very fortunate because we had anticipated the need and actually had order the parts and they came in literally the week before the patient came to the hospital," Mehall said.

Patients using a heart pump are usually on the device for about a week.

The staff at Penrose is currently being trained to use the new pumps and they should be ready for use later this month.

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