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First Artificial Heart Implanted Successfully

Artificial Heart Implanted

"The first successful artificial heart implant in the nation outside of a clinical trial was undertaken by surgeons at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey reported Abiomed Inc."

"AbioCor Total Replacement Heart, a self contained devise mostly made of titanium and plastic designed to be fully implantable was implanted in a 76 year old man with congestive, end stage heart failure. He became eligible for the innovative procedure as he did not qualify for a heart transplant or other available therapies and was determined to be in severe end-stage heart failure.

The surgery was led by Dr. Mark Anderson, associate professor of surgery at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and chief of the section of cardiac surgery at both the medical school and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He was assisted by Dr. Juan Plate, assistant professor of surgery at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and an attending surgeon at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Anderson is one of the few physicians nationwide trained to perform this procedure and the hospital is one of only three centers nationwide approved to perform the surgery and the only one in the New York and Philadelphia areas. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services agreed to cover the USD 250,000 item.

'Congestive heart failure in this country is really an epidemic,' added Anderson. 'Currently, for patients who are non-transplant candidates, there is really no good option for them. They are faced kind of a slow, or sometimes rapid death, but with really a poor quality of life.'

Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in September 2006, the AbioCor, Total Replacement Heart is the world's first completely self-contained, fully implantable artificial heart and also the first internal artificial organ.

Unlike older artificial hearts that have external power devices that patients must keep with them at all times, the AbioCor Total Replacement Heart has an internal motor that simulates a heartbeat, along with a rechargeable battery.

'Obviously, everyone has been waiting for a really viable, total artificial heart and it's been a long time in the making,' said Anderson. 'This particular device has been in development for about 30 years - just to give you an idea of the effort and the time it took to development something like this.'

Abiomed said the operation took place more than a week ago, and the patient is 'showing signs of a strong and stable recovery.' The hospital and UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School declined to divulge the patient's identity or where he lives and asked that the patient and his family's privacy and confidentiality be respected during his critical recovery period.

Abiomed stock rose 7 cents to USD 8.27 in afternoon trading."

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