Three Common Heart Medical Devices to Know About in a Pharmaceutical Quality Assurance Career

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A malfunctioning heart is a terrifying prospect, and sophisticated measures are needed to keep such complex problems under control. Often, it can’t be fixed with medications alone, so a range of medical devices have been developed to keep the organ in working order. Pharmaceutical personnel, including quality assurance experts, maintain constant oversight of the production and research of such devices, ensuring they serve the patient most effectively in their time of need.

Here, we will examine three of the most common medical devices used for heart treatment—stents, pacemakers and left ventricular assist devices (LVADs). Each works to counteract different cardiac problems, and they offer life-saving relief to patients during emergencies. Let’s take a closer look at how these devices function.

Stents Have Been Developed to Maintain Regular Blood Flow to the Heart

Artery blockages can cause severe discomfort as blood flow is restricted around the body. Bypass surgery is needed in the most extreme cases, but stents are medical devices which offer relief for more minor blockages. This involves maintaining the normal width of the artery walls by inserting an inflated balloon surrounded by a metal tube into the vessel. Once the tube is in position, the balloon is removed, and the artery’s normal width and blood flow is restored.

Stents are commonly constructed like a wire grill made of stainless steel so that they maintain their strength and structure. Personnel with training in pharmaceutical quality assurance serve a vital purpose in monitoring effective development of these medical devices, so they continue to serve their purpose for many years. It may also be used by medical professionals as a temporary solution before more complex surgical options are carried out.

The metal stent placed inside a clogged artery

The metal stent placed inside a clogged artery

Pacemakers Ensure that a Constant Heart Beat Rhythm Is Maintained

A fully functioning heart includes a so-called ‘natural pacemaker’ which ensures that the heartbeat is maintained as a regular rhythm. Sometimes, however, that rate can become too slow, too fast or irregular. Pacemakers are medical devices inserted into the body which give the patient’s heart a jolt when the beat needs to be restored to its normal rate. It’s a relatively simple procedure, with most of the recovery time associated with pain at the incision point where the device is inserted.

This battery-powered device is usually placed below the collar bone, from which electrical impulses are sent via a wire into the heart. Those with pacemakers must follow precautions about use of other electrical equipment, including cell phones. Both devices shouldn’t be in close proximity with each other, and patients are encouraged to keep phones in pant pockets rather than shirt pockets, for example.

What Students in Pharmaceutical Quality Training Should Know about LVADs

Another medical device that is often used as a stop gap solution ahead of more complex surgery is the left ventricular assist device (LVAD). Students in pharmaceutical courses should note that the left ventricle is the most important chamber in the heart for pumping blood to the body, but it can become restricted. The LVAD is a tube inserted into the ventricle which pumps out blood and directs it into the aorta. It is often a temporary option as patients await a heart transplant, but it’s becoming more common as a long-term solution as well.

Insertion of this device requires complex open-heart surgery, with patients likely to spend days in intensive care during recovery. Despite the discomfort of this surgery and recovery, the development of this type of medical device serves a crucial purpose in prolonging life expectancy for at-risk patients.

Cabling connects the exterior LVAD control unit to the pump in the body

Cabling connects the exterior LVAD control unit to the pump in the body

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