FDA updates warning about Impella RP System


The Food and Drug Administration has reported that the higher postapproval mortality rates seen with Abiomed’s Impella RP System seem concentrated in a certain subgroup of patients only, according to a letter to health care providers.

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The letter updates one from February regarding the observation of higher postapproval mortality rates with the temporary right heart pump.

This subgroup, which did not qualify for premarket clinical studies, was more likely to have been in cardiogenic shock for longer than 48 hours, experienced a cardiac arrest, or suffered a preimplant hypoxic or ischemic neurologic event prior to receiving the device, the FDA suggested in this new letter to health care providers. The 30-day survival rate in this subgroup within a postapproval study (PAS) was 10.7% (3 out of 28), while that among patients who would have qualified for the premarket clinical studies was 64.3% (9 of 14), according to the most recent interim results of that study. The rate among patients who would have qualified for premarket studies is similar to that seen among those premarket studies (73.4%); the overall 30-day survival rate in this PAS was 28.6%.

The FDA said that, based on these analyses, it still believes the benefits outweigh the risks when the Impella RP System is “used for the currently approved indication in appropriately selected patients.”

The FDA advises that health care providers review the device’s revised labeling, which now includes a checklist to help understand which patients could benefit the most. It also advises providers to promptly report any adverse events through MedWatch, which can help the FDA identify and understand the risks associated with the Impella RP System.

More information can be found in the FDA’s letter to health care providers, which is available on the FDA website.

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