The Louisiana Heart Hospital (64030 Hwy. 434, Lacombe, 985-690-7500; www.louisianahearthospital.com) is the first medical center on the Northshore to implant the Impella, the world's smallest heart pump. The catheter-based device, made by Abiomed and approved by the FDA in 2008, relieves stress on the heart, lowers oxygen consumption and increases blood flow to the rest of the body. In the past, cardiac patients had only two options: open-heart surgery or angioplasty. The Impella is most important for at-risk patients who otherwise might not be good candidates for the other medical procedures.