In a rare case of a total artificial heart implantation taking place, the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and New Jersey Medical School powered up a 76 year old male with ABIOMED‘s AbioCor Total Replacement Heart system. We’ve covered this device over the years as it’s been earning acceptance and positioning itself as a viable option for seriously ill patients, not as a bridge to transplantation but as a life-extending device.
From the announcement:
After extensive training and education, the surgery team, which also included cardiac anesthesiologists, perfusionists and cardiac nurses, conducted the implant on a 76-year-old male patient with congestive heart failure. The patient did not qualify for a heart transplant or other available therapies and was determined to be in severe end-stage heart failure; therefore becoming eligible for this innovative, life-extending procedure.
The AbioCor, developed by Abiomed, Inc., is intended as a permanent heart replacement for end-stage heart failure patients who are not candidates for transplant and cannot be helped by any other available treatment. Candidates for the AbioCor System have severe, biventricular, end-stage heart disease but typically have other vital organs that continue to be functioning well. Generally, they must be younger than 75 years old, require multiple drugs to increase the strength of contractions of their heart muscle to support life, are not treatable by a mechanical device that assists with the pumping action for the lower left chamber of the heart to sustain life for long term therapy , and are not weanable from biventricular support if on such support.
Made primarily of titanium and blood-safe plastic, the AbioCor is designed so that a patient can remain mobile and continue a productive lifestyle at home. Equipped with an internal motor, the AbioCor is able to move blood through the lungs and to the rest of the body, simulating the rhythm of a heartbeat. The AbioCor consists of an internal thoracic unit, an internal rechargeable battery, an internal miniaturized electronics package and an external battery pack.
Video explaining the workings of the AbioCor heart:
Press release: Groundbreaking Artificial Heart Implanted at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital…
Product page: AbioCor…
Flashbacks: More on Abiomed’s Artificial Heart; First Self-Contained Artificial Heart Receives an FDA Exemption; Paul Winchell and the Artificial Heart