"This is very impressive, as the mortality rate among this group is usually at least 50 percent," Gurudevan said.
In the third category, patients' health was stable prior to receiving their artificial heart. All three patients in this category were alive and at home at 60 days one of them post-transplant.
The total artificial heart is a device that is used to replace the ventricles for patients in end-stage heart failure. In end-stage heart failure, patients' heart function has become so poor that their only option is a heart transplant. The artificial heart attaches to the patient's upper heart chambers (the atria), and blood flows between the chambers through mechanical valves.
While a number of artificial hearts have been in development since the 1950s, only one type currently has FDA approval. Patients in the study received the Syncardia total artificial heart, which pumps up to 9.5 liters of blood per minute through the ventricles and has tubes that run from the device to a power source outside the body that patients can carry in a backpack.
"Before, patients had to stay in the hospital while they waited for a new heart," Gurudevan said. "With the artificial heart, some can wait at home and continue to conduct many of their regular activities."
He added that this helps patients maintain muscle tone, strength and conditioning. "When patients are lying in a hospital bed for a month, it's harder on their bodies to have major surgery," he said. "Heart transplants are usually done on an emergent basis, so it's good for people to keep up their strength and be ready in order to have the best possible outcome."
About 5,000 heart transplants occur each year around the world, though it is esti
|Contact: Beth Casteel|
American College of Cardiology