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American University of Beirut Medical Team Successfully Performs First Artificial Heart Implant in Lebanon
Date:9/3/2009

NEW YORK and BEIRUT, Sept. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- A medical team at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) has successfully performed the first artificial heart implant in Lebanon, saving the life of a 37-year-old man suffering from terminal heart failure.

Led by two AUB doctors, the six-hour operation, which took place on August 28, 2009, was deemed a success after the patient survived the first critical 72 hours and showed improvements in all his vital signs. The artificial heart implant operation involves the insertion of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) that assumes the functions of the left ventricle of the heart, the dominant chamber which is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood via the aorta to the rest of the body.

"The operation was a huge success as it was this patient's last chance at life," said Dr. Pierre Sfeir, the AUBMC surgeon who conducted the operation.

"His vital organs are functioning normally and the new device implant is pumping blood properly," added Dr. Hadi Skouri, the AUBMC cardiologist who has been treating the patient and a specialist on heart failure and transplantation.

The LVAD used in this surgery, the Heartmate II, is manufactured by the US medical technology company, Thoratec.

The two AUB doctors were assisted by a multidisciplinary medical team, including a leading expert on LVAD operations, Dr. Latif Arusoglu, a German surgeon, as well as a clinical specialist, both dispatched by Thoratec.

"90 percent of all cardiac failures are the result of left ventricular failure," explained Dr. Skouri. When the left ventricle does not function adequately, there are several treatment options available to physicians, he added. As a first step, these patients are placed on a drug therapy that helps the heart pump blood. If that is not successful, patients might undergo a relativel
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SOURCE American University of Beirut
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