Breakthr ugh Mechanical Devices Are Helping People with Failing Hearts to Survive, and Thrive A 4 Robert Wood Johnson I MEDICINE little over three years ago, Carlos Mora was at his son’s wrestling match when—at age 48—his heart failed. One month after a checkup with his cardiologist, 50-yearold marathon runner Saul Baez had a massive heart attack. Both men survived because of remarkable ventricular assist devices (VADs) and a heart surgeon who has dedicated his career to putting them to use to save lives. VAD technology is fast becoming the new hope for people with end-stage heart failure. The size, efficiency, and even implantability of these devices are continually improving, advancing their potential uses. Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital are considered regional leaders in VAD innovation. The medical school’s team of physicians is led by George Batsides, MD, assistant professor of surgery and chief, section of cardiac surgery, and includes Leonard Y. Lee, MD ’92, professor and chief, division of cardiothoracic surgery, and the James W. Mackenzie, MD, Endowed Chair in Surgery; Anthony Lemaire, MD, assistant professor of surgery; and Aziz S. Ghaly, MD, assistant professor of surgery. Some VAD heart pumps are little more than the size of a pencil or hockey puck. All of them are used to support heart function and blood flow, taking blood from a lower chamber of the heart and helping to pump it to the body. VAD technology has grown to become, most recently, capable of implantation through an artery in the catheterization laboratory using percutaneous (through the skin) devices or via a small incision on the artery of the arm. B Y LY N D A R U D O L P H n P O R T R A I T S B Y J O H N E M E R S O N