Louisville, Ky. — Robert Tools, the first person to receive a fully self-contained artificial heart, died Friday of internal bleeding and organ failure after living with the device whirring in his chest for 151 days. He was 59.
The death was announced by doctors who implanted the softball-sized device July 2 at Jewish Hospital.
They said the death was not caused by problems with the AbioCor heart device. They blamed the severe abdominal bleeding on long-standing health problems.
"Mr. Tools and his family members are heroes," Dowling said. "Their willingness to be the first to participate in the AbioCor clinical trial could potentially pave the way for a revolutionary treatment option for advanced heart disease."
Four other patients across the country have had the same surgery and are living with AbioCor hearts. A fifth patient underwent the surgery in Houston this week but did not survive the operation.