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First U.S. Patient to Receive New Heart-Assist Device Doing Well After Surgery at University of Michigan
Date:8/5/2008

National trial aims to help heart failure patients survive until transplant, and may offer lower clot risk and less blood damage than earlier heart devices

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Aug. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Anthony Shannon made history on July 30. That's when he became the first person in the United States to receive a new type of experimental and very high-tech heart-assist device. Called a DuraHeart, it was implanted in his chest, and connected to his failing heart, to help pump his blood and keep him alive.

Shannon, a 62-year-old from Livonia, Mich., is doing well less than one week after the operation, which was performed by a team led by surgeon Francis Pagani, M.D., Ph.D. at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center. Shannon is the former director of homeland security and emergency management for Wayne County, Mich., and holds a Ph.D., in public administration.

The DuraHeart, made by an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company called Terumo Heart Inc., uses advanced magnetic-levitation technology. This "maglev" approach, as it is called, means that a crucial, constantly revolving part within the hockey puck-sized implanted device never touches the walls of the pumping chamber.

Instead, it levitates in the middle, suspended in a magnetic field and pushing blood along. The battery-powered device pushes blood from the heart to the body, taking over most of the function of the left side of a severely weakened heart.

As a result, DuraHeart may cause less damage to blood cells and be less likely to allow dangerous blood clots to form, compared with other heart-assisting devices that use mechanical pumps. It has already been used in 70 patients in Europe, where it received approval for commercial use in 2007 after a clinical trial.

Now, heart failure patients at U-M and other centers across the U.S. will have the opportunity to volunteer for a clinical trial of the DuraHeart, which is being co-led by Pagani and by Yoshif
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SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
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