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Thoratec Announces New CMS Outpatient Reimbursement Codes for VAD Supplies.

Codes Recognize Home Care Management for VAD Patients

PLEASANTON, Calif., May 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Thoratec Corporation , a world leader in products to treat cardiovascular disease, today recognized the new outpatient reimbursement codes for VAD (Ventricular Assist Device) supplies and accessories issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The 26 new HealthCare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes, which will take effect on October 1, 2005, enable hospitals, specialty home care suppliers and home care agencies to bill clearly and precisely for VAD-related electrical equipment, replacement supplies and accessories used by patients in a home care setting. The level of reimbursement under these new codes will be determined prior to their implementation.

"This is yet another economic victory for those centers treating patients suffering from late-stage heart failure who have been implanted with a cardiac assist device and discharged to a home setting. Thoratec has worked closely with CMS to ensure continuity of care for VAD patients. Implementing these codes and establishing appropriate payment levels for the new codes are essential steps in the support and delivery of high quality care," said D. Keith Grossman, president and chief executive officer of Thoratec. "We applaud this recent action, and look forward to working with CMS to ensure an effective implementation of the new codes," he added.

The new codes generally describe the VAD supplies and accessories that patients need to have replaced over a six or 12-month time frame. They include the microprocessor control unit, power base unit, monitor control cables, batteries and other items used in the patient's home.

"The fact that CMS has included 26 specific accessory codes for this new reimbursement demonstrates their commitment to helping this technology move forward and bringing meaningful therapy to the many patients who suffer from late-stage heart failure," noted Jeffrey Nelson, president of Thoratec's Cardiovascular Division. "We are hopeful that these codes will further facilitate hospitals' ability and willingness to offer long-term VAD therapy wherever clinically appropriate, particularly for Destination Therapy," he added.

Thoratec's HeartMate(R) XVE LVAS (Left Ventricular Support System) is the first and only FDA-approved device for Destination Therapy, or the permanent support of late-stage heart failure patients who not eligible for heart transplantation. The company received this approval in November 2002. More than 9,500 of its HeartMate LVAS and Thoratec(R) VAD have been implanted in patients suffering from heart disease.

Thoratec's product line also includes the Vectra(R) vascular access graft (VAG) for patients undergoing hemodialysis. Additionally, its International Technidyne Corporation (ITC) division supplies blood coagulation testing and skin incision products. Thoratec is headquartered in Pleasanton, California. For more information, visit the company's web sites at http://www.thoratec.com/ or http://www.itcmed.com/.

Many of the preceding paragraphs, particularly but not exclusively those addressing guidance for future performance or timelines or adoption of our products, contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements can be identified by the words, "expects," "hopes," "believes" and other similar words. Actual results could differ materially from these forward-looking statements based on a variety of factors, many of which are beyond Thoratec's control. Therefore, readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on these statements. Investors are cautioned that all such statements involve risks and uncertainties, including risks related to the development of new markets including Destination Therapy, the growth of existing markets for our products, customer and physician acceptance of Thoratec products, the results of clinical trials including the HeartMate II, regulatory approval processes, the effect of healthcare reimbursement and coverage policies, the effect of price competition from any Thoratec competitors and the effects of any merger and acquisition related activities. These factors, and others, are discussed more fully under the heading, "Factors That May Affect Future Results," in Thoratec's 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 1, 2005, and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results, events or performance may differ materially. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. Thoratec undertakes no obligation to publicly release the results of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

CONTACT: investors, Keith Grossman, President, Chief Executive Officer of Thoratec Corporation, +1-925-847-8600; or Neal Rosen of Kalt Rosen & Co., +1-415-397-2686; or press, Jennifer Chan of FischerHealth, Inc., +1-310-577-7870, ext. 164, or jchan@fischerhealth.com, both for Thoratec Corporation

Web site: http://www.thoratec.com/
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Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 6, 2005
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