Students and staff given opportunity to train on Abiomed’s Impella 2.5 – the world’s smallest heart pump

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Loma Linda University Health is first campus in California to participate

Loma Linda University Medical Center cardiology fellows, Hambik Tankazyan, DO (left) and Gaurav Tyago, MD, received an interactive demonstration of the Impella® 2.5 from Katherine Merritt, a clinical

Those professionals who came out to the lab were able to see all perspectives of the device rather than just the interface with which they regularly work.

The Abiomed Mobile Learning Lab made its first California stop at Loma Linda University Health on Wednesday, April 1, giving students, physicians and other staff an opportunity to get hands-on experience with the Impella® 2.5 – the world’s smallest heart pump.

Loma Linda University Medical Center(LLUMC) cardiologist, Anthony Hilliard, MD, has performed over 100 cases with the Impella 2.5 in the last six years. Also an assistant professor of medicine at LLU School of Medicine, Hilliard was impressed with the highly interactive, facilitated learning experience. “The Mobile Learning Lab experience is invaluable,” he said. “Those professionals who came out to the lab were able to see all perspectives of the device rather than just the interface with which they regularly work.”

The Abiomed Mobile Learning Lab offered Loma Linda University Health students, physicians, nurses, faculty and other staff a convenient opportunity to learn about the Impella platform with various Impella simulators, animations and key information all presented by a team of Abiomed trainers.

Hambik Tankazyan, DO, a cardiology fellow at LLUMC took advantage of the Mobile Learning Lab and said it was a very helpful tool. “We are using this particular heart pump more and more. It’s important to practice and become more familiar with it.”

The Impella 2.5 is a percutaneous (through the skin) heart pump that offers hemodynamic support for patients who have been turned down for bypass surgery or are at high risk for percutaneous coronary intervention, patients in cardiogenic shock and to stabilize patients before surgery or transplant.

LLUMC patient Mary Watkins and her husband Jim made the trip out from their home in Phelan, California to take a tour of the Mobile Learning Lab. After a failed quadruple bypass surgery in August 2012, several tests were conducted and it was determined another procedure would be needed.

In February 2013, Hilliard performed rotational atherectomy, drilling out Watkins’ main left artery, and the Impella 2.5 was used to assist her heart while simultaneous drilling occurred.

Watkins boasted about her experience at LLUMC, saying it was “excellent!”

“Dr. Hilliard is a great guy and a good doctor,” she said. “He’s not only positive and encouraging, but he was persistent to solve the problem so an acceptable quality of life could be restored.”

Watkins was given a demonstration of the Impella 2.5 prior to her procedure, however she was still impressed with the Mobile Learning Lab. “To be able to use it as a training device for other doctors is great.”

More information on the Impella 2.5 can be found at

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Briana Pastorino
Loma Linda University Health
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