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Nebraska Medical Center Implants State's First SynCardia Total Artificial Heart

TUCSON, Ariz., April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- SynCardia Systems, Inc. (, manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE (Europe) approved Total Artificial Heart, announced today that The Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha has performed the state's first implant of the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart to save the life of 42-year-old Greg Rathe (photo) and bridge him to a second heart transplant.

Watch video of Greg Rathe 's story -

"Greg had chronic rejection of his donated heart," said Mike Moulton , MD, chief of cardiothoracic surgery and heart transplant surgeon at The Nebraska Medical Center. "That process affected both the left and right ventricles. Because his heart had deteriorated to such a degree, a Total Artificial Heart was the only option."

In 1996, Rathe received a heart transplant after a sudden onset of viral cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle. After 17 years of life with his donor heart, his symptoms returned earlier this year.

"I used to run a frontend loader at a limestone quarry," said Rathe, who enjoys fishing and welding yard ornaments and toys. "I felt weak and couldn't breathe. When I got here, to the Med Center, they said I'd need a new heart."

Rathe was listed for a heart transplant in September 2012. According to his doctors, donor hearts have become available twice since then, but neither were a good match for Rathe, whose immune system is overactive due to his first heart transplant.

This March, with his donor heart failing, Rathe's condition became critical when he lost consciousness and collapsed.

"We knew if we didn't move forward with the Total Artificial Heart, Greg would not survive," said John Um , MD, surgical director of cardiac transplantation and mechanical circulatory support at The Nebraska Medical Center.

To save Rathe's life, on March 14, Drs. Moulton and Um performed the state's first implant of the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart.

Now that he's on the road to recovery, Rathe's hopes for the future are simple: "Help take care of my son. He's only 4. So I can watch him grow up. Go back to work… live a normal life."

View news coverage of The Nebraska Medical Center's first implant -
Read press release from The Nebraska Medical Center -

About the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart
SynCardia Systems, Inc. (Tucson, AZ) is the privately-held manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart. Originally used as a permanent replacement heart, the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is currently approved as a bridge to transplant for people suffering from end-stage heart failure affecting both sides of the heart (biventricular failure). There have been more than 1,100 implants of the Total Artificial Heart, accounting for more than 300 patient years of life.

Similar to a heart transplant, the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart replaces both failing heart ventricles and the four heart valves, eliminating the symptoms and source of end-stage biventricular failure. Unlike a donor heart, the Total Artificial Heart is immediately available at SynCardia Certified Centers. It is the only device that provides immediate, safe blood flow of up to 9.5 liters per minute through each ventricle. This high volume of safe blood flow helps speed the recovery of vital organs, helping make the patient a better transplant candidate.

Forbes Ranks SynCardia #69 Among "America's Most Promising Companies"
In its February 2013 issue, Forbes selected SynCardia as one of "America's Most Promising Companies" for the second consecutive year. On the list of 100 privately held, high-growth companies with bright futures, SynCardia was selected #69, moving up eight spots from its #77 ranking last year. See the full list of SynCardia Awards & Recognition here.

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SOURCE SynCardia Systems, Inc.
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