From Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute to Capitol Hill

Northwestern Medicine
News April 17, 2014
Edwin McGee, MD, surgical director of heart transplantation and the mechanical assistance program at Northwestern’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, is on Capitol Hill today to talk with key Illinois lawmakers about providing access to those needing VADs, or ventricular assistance devices.

These revolutionary devices electronically assist a patient’s heart for them, keeping them alive until a donor heart becomes available. Recent changes to Medicare means about 40 percent of patients who could benefit from a VAD currently don’t have access to them.

“VADs are a powerful, lifesaving device,” McGee said. “I meet with patients routinely who could definitely benefit from the device. If you have a sick heart, you have a sick heart and you need something to stabilize you. A VAD does just that. ”

McGee was the first doctor in North America to use a device called HeartWare bivads, advanced dual ventricle assisted devices, in 2010 on a patient named Jim Armstrong from north suburban Lake Forest. The HeartWare BiVAD kept Armstrong alive until he received a heart transplant, and Armstrong continues to live the active life he lived before an attack of myocarditis damaged his heart. Learn more about McGee and VADs, including his treatment of Armstrong. 
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