February 9, 2015 | WGVU Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a relatively rare disease of the lung arteries.
“And when this happens, the right [side of the] heart starts struggling because it is under high pressure. It’s not able to send the blood into the lung.”
“And the heart starts failing.”
That’s Dr. Joseph Vettukattil of Spectrum Health.
“So, this device is basically intended to decompress one chamber by making a small hole in the heart to a defined size.”
Dr. Vettukattil is the inventor of the atrial flow regulator.
He’s also the surgeon who performed the first placement of the device in the world.
“My biggest challenge was to make a device which may not have much economic benefit, but a patient may enormously benefit from it."
"That was the most rewarding point for me – to make sure that I could [implant] this device and help a patient.”
Dr. Vettukattil says the idea came from his work with congenital heart disease in children.
And he says it may also be beneficial for other heart conditions – such as left heart failure, with an estimated 3.2 million patients in the U.S. alone.
Spectrum Health received special permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to perform the surgery.
The device needs more study, testing and research before entering the larger market.
Dr. Vettukattil says they’re currently looking at what the next steps may be – including the possibility of partnerships with other interested entities.