Jersey Shore University Medical Center launches the only LVAD program in its region

Program meets high demand, exceeds quality expectations and gains CMS certification in first year

To ensure comprehensive heart failure treatments are available to the region, Jersey Shore University Medical Center launched its LVAD program at the end of 2018.

LVAD program completed three implants in its first 45 days, and continued to meet high demand through 2019. Surgical teams performed 15 implants in 2019, which was the second highest volume in New Jersey, and exceeded the 10 cases per year required by CMS and the New Jersey Department of Health. To date, the LVAD program has completed a total of 22 implants.

Demand is high as Jersey Shore University Medical Center offers the only comprehensive heart program in Monmouth County and the only LVAD program in the region, but so is quality of care. Under the coordinated leadership team of medical director Jesus Almendral, M.D., FACC, surgical director Deepak Singh, M.D., and program manager Dreamy James, AGACNP-BC, AACC, CHFN, the program became the fifth CMS-certified DT VAD program in New Jersey.

Notably, both acute and elective patients are distributed equally in the Intermacs profile. Based upon the medical center’s first 22 cases, there is a balanced distribution among Intermacs patients at levels 1 (32%), 2 (36%) and 3 (32%). The medical center also maintains a low mortality rate that exceeds Intermacs survival rates for the one-month, six-month and 12-month benchmarks.

One important quality indicator: The program experienced no driveline infections within one year of implant, thanks to measures including intensive dressing change teaching, no anchor suture or velour, driveline immobilization, site inspection every visit and weekly dressing. Additionally, readmission within 30 days was 5%, well below the goal of 25, attributable to interventions such as a discharge checklist, scheduled weekly appointments, PA support through Hackensack Meridian Health Rehabilitation at Wall, and an LVAD hotline with 24/7 access.

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