EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn., June 5, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sunshine Heart, Inc. (Nasdaq:SSH) today announced that it has been awarded an Australian International Design Award in the Medical and Scientific category for its second-generation C-Pulse driver. Sunshine Heart, along with contract development partners, Design + Industry and Hydrix Services, collectively submitted an award application in March. Final awards were presented May 30, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. The Australian International Design Awards program is Australia's longest running and most prestigious design recognition program with a 55-year history. This year's competition included more than 250 design entries across 15 categories with judging performed by six panels of Australian and international design experts. Each applicant was evaluated based upon form, function, quality, safety, sustainability, commerciality and innovation. Sunshine Heart was one of just three companies receiving this year's Design Award distinction, along with Cochlear and Philips Healthcare. Sunshine Heart's second-generation C-Pulse driver features a single unit and is roughly half the size, lighter and quieter compared to its first generation predecessor. The C-Pulse System is a new therapeutic approach based on proven balloon counter-pulsation technology for the treatment of patients with Class III and ambulatory Class IV heart failure. The device is currently being utilized in the recently initiated investigational U.S. pivotal trial, COUNTER HF; as well as a CE marked European post-market study, OPTIONS HF. About the C-Pulse ® Heart Assist System The C-Pulse Heart Assist System, or C-Pulse System, an investigational device in the United States, Canada and countries that do not recognize the CE mark approval, utilizes the scientific principles of intra-aortic balloon counter-pulsation applied in an extra-aortic approach to assist the left ventricle by reducing the workload required to pump blood throughout the body, while increasing blood flow to the coronary arteries. Combined, these potential benefits may help sustain the patient's current condition or, in some cases, reverse the heart failure process, thereby potentially preventing the need for later-stage heart failure devices, such as left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), artificial hearts or transplants. It may also provide relief from the symptoms of Class III and ambulatory Class IV heart failure and improve quality of life and cardiac function. Based on the results from our feasibility trial, we also believe that some patients treated with our C-Pulse System will be able to stop using the device due to sustained improvement in their conditions as a result of the therapy.