The world's smallest heart pump has doctors racing to heal patients

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) "I had a horrible attack, I mean, I couldn't breathe, I couldn't do anything, I came upstairs and my wife said I was whiter than my hair," said Juel Rall, a former patient.

Juel Rall is one man who benefited from the impella device.

"Today's a special day because it's an opportunity for the community to know that we're talking about the world's smallest and smartest heart pump," said Bhaskar Purushottam, cardiologist.

Driving across the nation in a semi-truck to teach doctors, a traveling classroom shows doctors the ins and outs of heart healing.

"The device has a pigtail shape and this is what sits inside the heart's pumping chamber, so using the x-ray we guide this in, put it inside the heart's pumping chamber, and the way the device works is the best analogy I can give is like a jet ski, so the way jetski goes, is it sucks blood underneath and shoots it out the back, which propels it forward," said Joseph Tuma, medical director of Regional Health.

Instead of open-heart surgery, Doctor Bhaskar Purushottam used the impella device on Rall meaning he was out of the hospital the next day.

"The only thing I remember he asked me, he said, do you want to go ahead or do you want to think about it and I thought I'm laying here on this bed, what have I got to think about so yeah go ahead and do it," said Juel Rall, a former patient.

Purushottam said this device is a medical game-changer.

"We have a tool and therefore, patients who previously were considered high risk for surgery don't have to live in chest pain or shortness of breath and don't have to live with damaged hearts, they can be fixed," said Bhaskar Purushottam, cardiologist.

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