A Breakthrough Heart Device Debuts on 'Grey's Anatomy'

The Valentine's Day episode of the hit series “Grey's Anatomy” featured Dr. Cristina Yang (played by Sandra Oh) performing a heart procedure using a device known as The Parachute. The device, which is currently undergoing clinical trials in the United States, is a minimally-invasive, catheter-based treatment for heart failure. CardioKinetix, the company behind The Parachute, says the device partitions the coronary muscle damaged by a heart attack from the healthy, functional segments of the heart. By redirecting the blood flow, The Parachute can restore healthy geometry and function to the heart.

Grey's Anatomy's producers must have caught word of the device and decided to feature it in last night's episode. The episode played out a real life scenario that occurred earlier this year at Arkansas Heart Hospital, where the first American patient was implanted with the device. Dr. Marco Costa, director of the Interventional Cardiovascular Center and the Research and Innovation Center at the Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute at Case Western Reserve University and co-principal investigator of the trial, was brought on-set to ensure accuracy and answer any questions. Six-month and three-year results from a European study have shown that The Parachute creates a plateau in the progression of heart failure in patients. Should U.S. studies go smoothly it may not be long before the scenario outlined on the television show becomes a common occurrence.

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-Chris Wiltz is the Associate Editor of MD+DI