When someone suffers heart failure they are likely to require a mechanical pump to support one side of the heart, to keep the patient alive until such a time that a donor heart can become available. But the heart has two sides, the left ventricle and the right ventricle and sometimes when one side requires a heart pump the other side will develop complications – which can greatly increase the urgency for transplant.
As it is more common for patients to require a pump to assist the left ventricle of the heart, researcher Nicole is working to understand why the body then experiences complications in the right side of the heart.
To this end, Nicole has worked to develop a model of heart failure to replicate what is seen clinically in patients, this model is now being used to conduct initial research on the Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) to assess its effects on the right side of the heart.
Nicole is hoping to develop ways in which the life giving pump and the heart can work together in harmony – and save lives.
When a patient's heart and lungs begin to fail, they are often put on a treatment called extra corporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO for short. These life-support systems are often the last chance to help critically ill patients recover by helping to pump blood and oxygen around the body. From infants to children and adults, these amazing machines have saved tens of thousands of lives worldwide.
Research has shown that the inability to talk can lead to depression, social withdrawal, lack of motivation to participate in self-care, and more. This is a common issue that occurs in intensive care units (or ICUs) all over the world - patients that require a tracheostomy (a procedure that involves inserting a tube through the windpipe to create an alternative airway for breathing) lose the ability to speak, as oxygen isn't make its way past their vocal chords.