Life Without a Pulse: Heart Pump Aids Cardiac Patients

"In my mind, now the tough questions need to be answered," said Dr. Robert Kormos, director of the Artificial Heart Program and co-director of Heart Transplantation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Among these questions: Which patients will be best served by this technology, and who should get this expensive device?

"The cost of this technology is not inexpensive, and thus, the importance of rational allocation of technology needs to be resolved."

Kormos was not the only doctor to cite economic considerations.

"This device finally offers hope of increased life expectancy and improved quality of life for patients that previously had a uniformly rapidly-fatal condition," said Dr. Mark Adelman, chief of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at New York University's Langone Medical Center. "Unfortunately, this technology is expensive. It is precisely technology like this -- helpful, but expensive -- that America will have to weigh in on, as the cost of health care continues to escalate."

Cole Petrochko of MedPage Today contributed to this report.

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