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2 August 2011

UK's First Total Artificial Heart Patient To Go Home

A 40-year-old father has become the first person in the United Kingdom to receive a Total Artificial Heart implant and go home. Matthew Green had been critically ill suffering from end-stage biventricular heart failure.

The six-hour operation, carried out by surgeons at Papworth Hospital on 9th June, has replaced Mr Green’s damaged heart with a Total Artificial Heart.
The SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart is a device that is used as a bridge-to-transplant for patients dying from end-stage biventricular heart failure, where both sides of the heart are failing. Similar to a heart transplant, this device replaces both failing ventricles and the native heart valves, providing blood flow of up to 9.5 litres per minute throughout the body, thus eliminating the symptoms and effects of severe heart failure.

The transplant team at Papworth Hospital, led by Mr Steven Tsui, Consultant Cardiothoracic surgeon and Director of the Transplant Service, underwent rigorous training in Paris and the team was assisted by Dr. Latif Arusoglu, an expert Total Artificial Heart surgeon from Bad Oeynhausen, Germany.

Mr Green suffered from Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC), a heart muscle disease that results in arrhythmia, heart failure, and sudden death. His health had been declining over recent years with his only option available being a heart transplant.

“At any point in time there may be as many as 30 people waiting for a heart transplant on our waiting list at Papworth, with one third waiting over a year. Matthew’s condition was deteriorating rapidly and we discussed with him the possibility of receiving this device, because without it he may not have survived the wait until a suitable donor heart could be found for him.” explained Mr Steven Tsui, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon and Director of the Transplant Service.

“The operation went extremely well and Matthew has made an excellent recovery. I expect him to go home very soon, being able to do a lot more than before the operation with a vastly improved quality of life, until we can find a suitable donor heart for him to have a heart transplant.” added Mr Tsui.

Matthew Green said “I want to thank all the wonderful staff at Papworth Hospital who have been looking after me and who have made it possible for me to return home to my family. Two years ago I was cycling nine miles to work and nine miles back every day but by the time I was admitted to hospital I was struggling to walk even a few yards. I am really excited about going home and just being able to do the everyday things that I haven’t been able to do for such a long time such as playing in the garden with my son and cooking a meal for my family.”

Matthew will go home using the Freedom portable driver to power his Total Artificial Heart. Weighing 13.5 pounds, the Freedom driver is the world’s first wearable portable driver designed to power SynCardia’s Total Artificial Heart both inside and outside the hospital. It is designed to be worn by the patient in the Freedom Backpack or Shoulder Bag.

The Total Artificial Heart is unlike a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), which only helps the failing left ventricle. The Total Artificial Heart replaces both the left and right heart ventricles and takes over the pumping of blood throughout the whole body.

Papworth Hospital has a long history of innovation in heart and lung transplantation which began with the UK’s first heart transplant in 1979. Papworth has been using mechanical devices to support patients with end-stage heart failure since the 1980’s. The Total Artificial Heart is a modern version of the Jarvik-7 artificial heart of the 1980s and is manufactured  by SynCardia. Papworth Hospital is the only centre in the United Kingdom currently certified to implant the Total Artificial Heart. In November 1986, a patient received a Jarvik heart and was supported for two days before being transplanted.

Related information
Total Artificial Heart


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