Every patient is different. While supported by the Jarvik 2000, a patient may need to take one or more of the following types of drugs: antibiotics, anticoagulants, inotropes, pain medications, vasoactive drugs, and diuretics. Other drugs sometimes used in heart disease patients, such as drugs to prevent abnormal heart rhythms, may also be prescribed.
A knob on the controller allows the speed to be set in five increments numbered 1-5, which correspond to speeds 8,000-12,000 RPM. The range of speeds offered by the Jarvik 2000 is broad enough to give the patient some flexibility in choosing and accommodating different activities, but narrow enough to prevent unsafe extremes.
One of the advantages of the Jarvik 2000 over other mechanical circulatory support devices is its ease of operation. The Jarvik 2000 is designed as an outpatient treatment. It is designed to give patients a measure of independence and freedom. All the components can be used and maintained at home.
The controller and wearable Lithium-ion batteries for the Jarvik 2000 are splash resistant, but they are not waterproof. Splashes and spills on or near the equipment need to be cleaned up immediately. A patient can safely shower with the Jarvik 2000 pump implanted provided the controller and batteries are placed outside the shower area and protected from getting wet.. The patient's doctor must determine when the surgical wound has healed enough for the patient to begin showering.
Patients with the Jarvik 2000 sleep with the pump speed set low and the controller connected to one of the lead-acid reserve batteries via a retractable extension cord. The slower pump speed allows the patient to relax and sleep comfortably, while the extended operating time of the reserve battery permits the pump to safely run for more than 24 hours.
No. Patients with the Jarvik 2000 can also safely undergo routine diagnostic medical tests, such as x-rays, echography, and CT-scan. Magnetic resistance imaging (MRI), however, can interfere with pump function and lead to problems or injury.
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), status 1A (highest priority) heart transplant candidates in 2001 had a median waiting period of 42 days for a transplant; status 1B candidates had a 78-day median waiting period; and status 2 candidates a 374-day median waiting period. New UNOS guidelines on VAD recipients place them at status 1A for a 30-day period following implantation, after which they are generally placed at status 1B.
The Jarvik 2000 is designed to provide reliable support to the ailing heart for a decade or longer. Accelerated tests of the pump's bearings are not practical, so many more years of real-time testing are required to know whether or not the pump will achieve or exceed its design objective. Presently, our longest-sustained patient was supported for seven and a half years, but the ultimate durability of the device remains unknown. To date, not a single mechanical failure has occurred in any of the more than 200 patients who have received the Jarvik 2000.