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Ochsner Medical Center Implants 1st SynCardia Total Artificial Heart in Gulf South Region

TUCSON, Ariz., May 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- When Alfred Williams was admitted to Ochsner Medical Center in December, the 41-year-old father of five had exhausted all treatment options for his enlarged heart. His condition, known as dilated cardiomyopathy, had progressed to end-stage heart failure affecting both sides of his heart. Unable to walk, he had been confined to a bed for months. Hospice care seemed like the only option Mr. Williams had left… until doctors approached him about becoming Ochsner's first patient to receive the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart.


"This device serves as a bridge to transplant which would buy him the time he needs to rehabilitate while waiting on an organ transplant," said Dr. Hector Ventura , Section Head of Heart Failure and Transplantation at Ochsner Medical Center.

To save Mr. Williams' life, on Feb. 21, the Ochsner medical team, led by Dr. Aditya Bansal, performed the Gulf South Region's first implant of the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart. Within two weeks of the surgery, Mr. Williams was out of bed and walking again. He has since been moved out of the ICU and is taking twice daily walks around the hospital.

"This is a guy who didn't walk for three months before his implantation," said Dr. Bansal. "Now he is walking all over the hospital. It is a feeling of satisfaction and that as a group, we've made a difference – we've changed his life."

An experienced truck driver, Mr. Williams was diagnosed with heart problems after getting a "funny feeling" and having trouble breathing while driving one day. He immediately pulled over and dialed 911. By the time help arrived, he was seizing and receiving limited oxygen to his brain.

"If it wasn't for the Ochsner team, I probably wouldn't have made it," said Mr. Williams. "They took care of me and I'm determined to get better. I have to show them love because they helped me through this fight. I thank each and every one of them who was a part of this."

Today, Mr. Williams is on the transplant list waiting for a matching donor heart and kidney. With his new outlook on life, he has one goal in mind – to attend the high school graduation of his youngest daughter later this month, who plans to go to nursing school.

• Watch video of Alfred Williams ' story -
• View news coverage of Ochsner's first implant -
• Read press release from Ochsner 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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