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Ochsner Implants First Total Artificial Heart In The Gulf South Region
Date:2/27/2013

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The John Ochsner Heart & Vascular Institute (JOHVI) at Ochsner Medical Center has performed the Gulf South Region's first Total Artificial Heart (TAH) implant. The latest advancement in mechanical heart technology, the SynCardia TAH is the world's first and only FDA approved device.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130128/MM49869LOGO)

From Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, Ochsner is the only provider to offer this technology and is one of only 40 sites in the United States certified to implant the artificial heart. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), heart failure affects more than 20 million people worldwide with an additional 2 million new cases diagnosed annually. The artificial heart is a device that contains the same components as a real human heart. It serves as a bridge to heart transplant for patients who suffer from severe heart failure. Ochsner has been a national leader in innovative technologies and methods for diagnosing and treating patients with heart failure. Ochsner performed the first successful heart transplant in Louisiana in 1985, and has since performed over 800 heart transplants.

"We are extremely proud to be the first cardiovascular team in the Gulf South Region to offer this technology to patients suffering from end-stage heart failure," said Hector Ventura , MD, Section Head, Heart Failure and Transplantation, Ochsner Medical Center. "The work demonstrates our commitment to cutting-edge procedures and marks another significant milestone for our organization."

During the nearly eight-hour surgery, a talented team of physicians, nurses and medical professionals worked together to remove the patient's diseased heart and implant the Total Artificial Heart. For the privacy and protection of those involved, no information will be released on the patient or their family at this time.

Aditya Bansal, MD, Cardiothoracic Surgery, John Ochsner Heart & Vascular Institute, was the lead surgeon who performed the first Total Artificial Heart procedure.

"The team worked tirelessly to make this happen," said Bansal. "As a physician, one of the most rewarding things we can do is to restore the quality of life to a patient. Thanks to modern technology, the Artificial Heart is a lifesaver and a viable option for the patient while waiting for a heart transplant."

How It Works

The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart consists of two biocompatible pumping chambers with four valves. These pumping chambers are connected to an external power supply called a "driver" by two small air tubes known as "drivelines." The drivelines exit the patient's abdominal wall just below the rib cage.

Once implanted, the TAH pumps blood to vital organs, helping patients become better transplant candidates. Because of its unique design, the Total Artificial Heart doesn't require sensors, motors or electronics of any type inside the body.

"The Total Artificial Heart leads to recovery of organ function in the most critically ill patients, a necessary step in order for the patient to be eligible for a heart transplant, which is the ultimate goal," said Gene Parrino , MD, Section Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery, John Ochsner Heart & Vascular Institute.

To qualify for TAH, patients must:

  • Must be diagnosed with Class III/IV Heart Failure Symptoms
  • Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) < 35%
  • Suffers from early End Stage Organ Dysfunction
  • Ventricular Arrhythmias
  • Hospitalization for heart failure in the past six months
  • Considering hospice

The John Ochsner Heart & Vascular Institute has received numerous accolades. U.S. News & World Report named Ochsner's Cardiology and Heart Surgery departments among the top 20 across the country in its 2012-13 Best Hospitals rankings. Additionally, Healthgrades ranked Ochsner #1 in Louisiana for Overall Cardiac Services, Cardiology Services and Coronary Interventional Procedures.

For more information visit, www.ochsner.org/TotalArtificialHeart or call 504-842-3925. 

***Photos available upon request***

Ochsner Health System is southeast Louisiana's largest non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system with eight hospitals and 38 health centers in Louisiana. Ochsner has been named the Consumer Choice for Healthcare in New Orleans for 16 consecutive years and is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a "Best Hospital" across 11 specialty categories. Ochsner employs more than 13,000 employees, over 850 physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts over 300 clinical research trials annually. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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, SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart is currently approved as a bridge to transplant for people dying from end-stage biventricular heart failure. There have been more than 1,000 implants of the Total Artificial Heart, accounting for more than 270 patient years of life. Similar to a heart transplant, SynCardia's 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.


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SOURCE Ochsner Health System
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