Abiomed gets Impella pump EUA for coronavirus-related heart failure

Blood clots of various types have been associated with the novel coronavirus, especially in critically ill patients. Abiomed says clinicians have been using the system to treat COVID-19 patients with acute clots causing a backup of blood in the heart chambers. (Getty Images)

The FDA granted an emergency authorization to Abiomed’s Impella RP heart pump system for COVID-19 patients suffering from right-sided heart failure, including those with a pulmonary embolism.

Blood clots of various sizes, types and locations within the body have been associated with the novel coronavirus infection, especially in the most critically ill patients. 

The Impella system is a temporary, catheter-based heart pump that picks up blood from the vena cava just outside the heart and conveys it through the right atrium and ventricle through a tube into the pulmonary artery, pushing it toward the lungs. 

The Impella RP system (Abiomed)

This lessens the overall load on the heart muscle and is designed to help patients recover in the days following a heart attack, transplant or open surgery as well as those who have received device implants in the left side of their heart. The device was first approved by the FDA in 2017. 

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According to Abiomed, clinicians have been using the system to treat certain COVID-19 patients with acute blood clots within the pulmonary artery, causing a backup that leads to right ventricular heart failure. 

Using minimally invasive techniques, the Impella pump can be deployed quickly in either a catheterization lab or an operating room after the clot has been removed, the company said.