UofL is one of six specialized medical centers nationwide that participated in a study designed to reverse heart failure. Researchers recruited 40 advanced heart failure patients between the ages of 18 to 59 who were so severely ill that they required surgical implantation of a LVAD pump or a heart transplant to survive. LVADs are physically burdensome and can be a source of complications, while heart transplants are difficult to come by.

In the trials, researchers developed a treatment that combined a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) used with standard heart failure drugs known to enhance repair of heart tissue. The treatment appeared to be successful, with several patients surviving more than three years after their LVADs were removed.

Researchers say the treatment could eliminate the need for heart transplants and long-term use of artificial heart pumps in certain cases.