Abiomed Impella RP System Linked To Increased Risk Of Patient Deaths, FDA Warns

Federal health officials have released a new Abiomed Impella heart pump fatality warning , indicating the use of the pump may actually lead to serious or potentially fatal adverse events.

The FDA sent a letter to healthcare providers on February 4, alerting them to potential problems with the Abiomed Impella RP System, which has been linked to a high mortality rate.

The Abiomed Impella RP System was approved by the agency in September 2017, and is used as an emergency implant to help with right ventricular function. It is typically only used for about 14 days while patients stay in the hospital for treatment.

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In the clinical trials relied on to approve the device, 44 out of 60 patients, or 73.3 percent, survived up to 30 days following use of the device. However, the agency required the manufacturer Abiomed to continue to monitor the device once it hit the market and conduct a post-approval study (PAS).

According to the interim post-approval study, only four out of 23 patients enrolled survived longer than 30 days; a rate of only 17.4 percent. The FDA suggests that the preclinical trial may not have done a good enough job of analyzing the mortality rate in a real-world setting.

“The FDA required additional analyses from Abiomed, and data submitted by the firm in January 2019 suggest that the high mortality rate observed in the PAS may be primarily related to differences in pre-implant characteristics of the PAS patients compared to the patients in the premarket clinical studies. Sixteen (16) of the 23 patients enrolled in the PAS would not have met the enrollment criteria for the premarket clinical studies,” the letter states. “Specifically, before getting the Impella RP system implanted, patients in the PAS were more likely than the premarket clinical study patients to have been in cardiogenic shock for longer than 48 hours, experienced an in-hospital cardiac arrest, been treated with an intra-aortic balloon pump, or suffered a pre-implant hypoxic or ischemic neurologic event.”

The FDA is recommending doctors be aware that the device was approved based on patients who had been in cardiogenic shock for less than 48 hours, and that none of those patients had experienced an in-hospital cardiac arrest, were treated with an intra-aortic balloon pump, or had suffered a hypoxic or ischemic event before the Impella was implanted. The agency also urges doctors to carefully consider the interim survival results from the post-marketing study.

Currently, there are no other device interventions approved for those types of patients by the FDA, which the agency also noted doctors should be aware of when making decisions for patients.

The FDA called for doctors or patients to report any adverse events related to the use of the Impella RP to the FDA’s MedWatch adverse event reporting system.

9 Comments

  • JuanApril 7, 2022 at 1:59 pm

    Would like to find a attorney who is familiar with Impella Device Law Suites

  • JanetJanuary 26, 2022 at 6:42 pm

    My husband died on Feb 02, 2018, just days after an impella was inserted. They were unable to wen him off. I would be interested in a class action suir

  • MicheleNovember 4, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    My husband suffered a heart attack and was taken to hospital. At no time was I made aware of his condition or what was being done other than he had died. Two days later receive a notice from my husbands insurance from doctor wanting approval for not one but two impellas at 30000 each! Doctor was motivated by greed only not by patient care. My husband did not have to die and shouldnt have. I plan o[Show More]My husband suffered a heart attack and was taken to hospital. At no time was I made aware of his condition or what was being done other than he had died. Two days later receive a notice from my husbands insurance from doctor wanting approval for not one but two impellas at 30000 each! Doctor was motivated by greed only not by patient care. My husband did not have to die and shouldnt have. I plan on starting a class action lawsuit if anyone is interested.

  • MicheleOctober 5, 2021 at 12:48 am

    My husband suffered a heart attack and was taken to hospital. At no time was I made aware of his condition or what was being done other than he had died. Two days later receive a notice from my husbands insurance from doctor wanting approval for not one but two impellas at 30000 each! Doctor was motivated by greed only not by patient care. My husband did not have to die and shouldnt have. I plan o[Show More]My husband suffered a heart attack and was taken to hospital. At no time was I made aware of his condition or what was being done other than he had died. Two days later receive a notice from my husbands insurance from doctor wanting approval for not one but two impellas at 30000 each! Doctor was motivated by greed only not by patient care. My husband did not have to die and shouldnt have. I plan on starting a class action lawsuit if anyone is interested.

  • HEATHEROctober 4, 2021 at 11:31 pm

    My husband had an impella to support his heart prior to heart transplant. While he did not die, he suffered a massive stroke during the procedure as a result of the Impella placement, leaving him without left side mobility. I would also like to know about a possible law suit.

  • KatieMay 31, 2021 at 8:08 am

    My husband died in January 2020 after the pump was placed. Before his death doctor admitted to me that his artery had ruptured. But he did not try to open him up and try to do a bypass. Which I feel he should have. I need info and help on this .

  • KathyJune 22, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    My husband had a widowmaker in Feb 2020 and an impella pump was put in. While it kept his heart beating, he developed a bleed that almost killed him and we think permanently damaged his femoral nerve. The same day, a much younger woman was in, received the same pump, same doc and had same (if not worse) bleeding. I can't find evidence of any lawsuits, settled or pending. Does anyone have any i[Show More]My husband had a widowmaker in Feb 2020 and an impella pump was put in. While it kept his heart beating, he developed a bleed that almost killed him and we think permanently damaged his femoral nerve. The same day, a much younger woman was in, received the same pump, same doc and had same (if not worse) bleeding. I can't find evidence of any lawsuits, settled or pending. Does anyone have any information?

  • AndreaJune 9, 2020 at 1:58 am

    The Impella was the cause of my Mother's death in 2015. She was rushed to University hospital; after the hospital she was at realized what had happened. I really just want this product removed from the hospitals.

  • KellyMay 30, 2020 at 10:15 pm

    My husband passed away 18 months after an Impella In plant at 60 years of age.

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