Allegheny General Hospital Implants Region’s 1st SynCardia Total Artificial Heart

Doctors Estimate up to 10 Patients a Year at Allegheny Could Benefit from the Total Artificial Heart  as a Bridge to Transplant

SynCardia Systems, Inc., manufacturer of the world’s first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE (Europe) approved Total Artificial Heart, announced today that Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) performed its first implant of the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart on Feb. 17.

“We are extremely proud to be the first cardiovascular team in Pittsburgh to offer this revolutionary technology to patients with advanced heart failure. AGH has a distinguished history of pioneering achievements in the treatment of complex cardiovascular diseases and the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is another significant milestone in that legacy,” said George J. Magovern, MD, Chair, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at AGH and the West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS).

The patient, 62, was first admitted to a local hospital suffering from an acute heart attack. Doctors attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation for nearly an hour before placing him on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), which takes over the function of the heart and the lungs. He was then transferred to Allegheny General Hospital, where cardiologists observed him for 24 hours. Initially, doctors had hoped to wean him off ECMO, or implant a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), which supports only the left side of the heart. However, they ultimately identified him as a candidate for the Total Artificial Heart.

“There is a small segment of people who really don’t do well with an LVAD alone, and we have learned we needed something better,” said cardiothoracic surgeon Stephen Bailey, MD, who performed the implant of the Total Artificial Heart.

“The side that’s not supported can often fail in about 20 percent of patients,” said cardiologist Raymond Benza, MD. “These are people we were never able to help before. This opens up a brand new door for these people”… read more

View news coverage of Allegheny’s 1st implant
Read press release from Allegheny General Hospital
Watch video of press conference


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