THE LATEST cardiovascular research reports may foreshadow tomorrow's therapy and preventive strategy.
For example, research involving use of ventricular-assist devices—instead of the heart-lung machine—during coronary artery bypass surgery is being reported by surgeons from the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston.
At the American Heart Association's 19th Science Writers Forum in Galveston, Tex (JAMA. 1992;267:335-336), Michael Sweeney, MD, said that this approach seems promising, especially now when older and/or much sicker patients are among those receiving the 368000 (1989 total) or more coronary artery bypass operations performed annually in this country.
Sweeney, who is an associate professor of surgery at the university and director of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at its Hermann Hospital, points out that—with this approach—"the patient's own lungs continue to oxygenate the blood and the ventricular-assist device partially supports cardiac function while the bypasses are completed." The heart continues to beat, but flaccidly (especially when the