The Impella® Program – Field Report from Hannover

Prof. Dr. Andreas Schäfer from the Hannover Medical School gives an insight into his work with the Impella systems. The Impella heart pumps allow the attending physician to minimize the risk of life-threatening situations for patients.

"The goal is to treat all stenoses and achieve a complete revascularization."

In the case of a Protected PCI, the Impella heart pump serves as a safety net because the intervention can be carried out under controlled conditions. This is particularly relevant for patients who are at a considerable risk of developing rhythmic disturbances during an intervention or suffering from a circulatory collapse due to their anatomical conditions. This also applies to patients in their later days of life or to patients with a reduced left ventricular function.

"With the Impella catheter, the intervention does not lead to the risk of life-threatening situations," says Prof. Dr. Schäfer. In the case of an intervention, the Impella system temporarily supports the cardiac output, which gives the attending physician enough time to perform a complete revascularisation. For this purpose, the Impella heart pump is inserted into the left ventricle. Once placed properly, the Impella heart pump helps maintaining the blood circulation. This enables thorough work and the complete revascularization of the vessels.

The Use of Impella Heart Pumps in Cardiogenic Shock

In cardiogenic shock the attending cardiologist wants to achieve the best possible result for the patient within the first procedure, i.e. a complete revascularisation. Due to the easy placement of the Impella heart pump, the physician has the necessary time to perform a complete opening of all occluded or highly stenosed coronary vessels and achieve an optimal result. The intervention improves the patient's quality of life because the oxygen supply of the heart increases.

"The system can, as shown in many studies, be handled relatively safely and comfortably after some practice."

- Prof. Dr. Schäfer


When using the Impella catheter, experience is essential. Prof. Dr. Schäfer advises beginners to start with planned cases such as the Protected PCI before treating emergency patients with a cardiogenic shock. Studies show that after some practice, the physician can safely and comfortably apply the heart pump.

If the physician is familiar with the system, it only takes a few minutes from unpacking the pump to its use in the ventricle. Once placed, the pump gives the attending physician the time necessary to successfully open all occluded or partly occluded coronary vessels. This results in another advantage: due to the added safety and certainty, the physician has the time to complete the procedure. This can result in a direct improvement in quality of life.


Prof. Dr. Andreas Schäfer
Deputy Director
Clinic for Cardiology & Angiology
Medizinische Hochschule Hannover

Prof. Dr. Andreas Schäfer studied medicine at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main from 1993 to 2000. Afterwards, he took part in a research fellowship in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at University of Oxford from 2002-2003. He spent his years as an assistant doctor in the Department of Internal Medicine and Cardiology at the University Clinic of Würzburg. In 2007, he completed his specialist training in internal medicine. Since October 2010 he has been a senior physician in the Department of Cardiology & Angiology at the Hannover Medical University, and has been the Deputy Clinical Director and Head of the Cardiological Intensive Care Unit since 2012.