Grey’s Anatomy Features Heart Device Being Tested at UPMC

By: Maggie Oberst

Attention Grey’s Anatomy fans:  Did you know that a clinical trial for the new Parachute device featured on last week’s episode is being conducted right here at UPMC?After a heart attack, many heart failure patients experience enlargement of their left ventricle causing a decrease in cardiac output and often heart failure symptoms such as shortness of breath.  Treatment options for patients whose ventricle has enlarged are limited.  The Parachute device offers the first minimally invasive catheter-based treatment to partition the damaged muscle, excluding the non-functional heart segment from the healthy, functional segment to decrease the overall volume of the left ventricle and restore its geometry and function.

“Often times patients with large heart attacks involving the front of the heart develop progressive enlargement of the chamber and heart failure symptoms. Clinical trials of the Parachute device are promising in terms of its safety and effectiveness at restoring ventricular size,” said Catalin Toma, M.D., UPMC’s lead investigator on the trial.
On the TV show,  Dr. Christina Yang – played by actress Sandra Oh – performed the operation to insert a Parachute device into a patient’s heart.   
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 5.7 million people in the United States have heart failure, which causes about 55,000 deaths every year.
UPMC is one of as many as 65 centers across the country that is participating in the PARACHUTE IV clinical trial designed to evaluate the device’s effectiveness.