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First Baby With Artificial Heart in Japan

BERLIN, August 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

- Cross reference: Picture is available at epa european pressphoto agency ( and -

For the first time in the history of Japan it was possible for doctors at the University of Tokyo, on August 2, 2012, to save a small child who was seriously suffering from a severe heart condition, aided by a Berlin Heart EXCOR® ventricular assist device. From a medical point of view the 14-month-old girl would only have been able to survive a few more weeks without the ventricular assist device. Now the artificial heart has taken over the pumping function of the completely weakened heart. Until a donor heart is found for the girl, weighing only seven kilograms, her life depends on the mechanical artificial heart.

The little patient would very probably not have survived waiting for transplantation in Japan, or for transport to another country for transplantation without the mechanical support. Assisted by the EXCOR® VAD, the infant could be stabilized well enough to be able to wait for transplantation.

The ventricular assist device EXCOR® from the German company Berlin Heart has been successfully employed in more than 1,100 children worldwide since its first implantation in 1990. It is the only system which can support all patients from newborns up to young people and adults such that they can survive until the heart transplantation. The EXCOR® VAD is used in 138 centers in 34 countries for bridging the often long waiting periods - in Europe 57.5% of the patients wait longer than one year for a new heart. Occasionally the heart can also recover so well, due to the mechanical support, that the assist device can be explanted and the patient can continue to live with their own heart.

The implantation was performed by Professor Ono and Professor Murakami, with medical advice from Professor Wearden (Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh) and clinical specialists from the Berlin Heart company from Germany and the USA, and at the same time constitutes the beginning of the approval study for the EXCOR® Pediatric VAD in Japan. The goal of the approval study is to be able to supply all of the pediatric patients with this therapy. In Europe, the USA and many countries in South America and Asia, this system is already available to patients.

It was announced from clinical circles that the little patient is doing well after the operation.

About Berlin Heart

Berlin Heart GmbH is the only company worldwide which develops, manufactures and distributes both implantable ventricular assist devices and systems lying external to the body for patients with heart disease of all ages and body sizes. The systems INCOR®, EXCOR® Adult and EXCOR® Pediatric support short- to long-term pumping function of the heart and thus present a life-saving therapy possibility for the patient. Furthermore the user can access clinical and technical support around the clock. Berlin Heart is the market leader in Germany and Europe.

About EXCOR®

The EXCOR® VAD is employed for mechanical heart support for patients who suffer from terminal stage heart failure. To date, EXCOR® has been used in more than 3,000 patients worldwide, from new-borns with a body weight of 2.2 kg up to adults.

BerlinHeart GmbH
Katharina Schubert
Marketing & PR
Wiesenweg 10
12247 Berlin       
Tel: +49-30-81-87-26-00

SOURCE Berlin Heart GmbH
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