Archive for Thursday, July 12, 2001

Artificial heart patient has additional surgery

July 12, 2001

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— The man given the world's first self-contained artificial heart returned to the operating room this week to drain fluid around the device's battery pack, doctors announced Wednesday.

The patient was resting comfortably and was able to watch a movie with his wife after Monday's 30-minute procedure, said Laman Gray Jr. and Robert Dowling, the University of Louisville surgeons who implanted the artificial heart last week.

The man remained in critical but stable condition Wednesday. Doctors say he visited with family and friends and exercised.

The patient has been identified only as a man in his late 50s with diabetes and a history of heart problems.

He was removed from a ventilator on Monday afternoon and was able to talk with his family and physicians, the hospital said. He was fatigued Tuesday evening and was placed back on the ventilator.

The AbioCor, developed by Danvers, Mass.-based Abiomed Inc., continues to function flawlessly, the hospital said. The device is a softball-sized titanium and plastic pump.

Doctors say they hope the device adds an additional month to the man's life. He was not expected to live more than 30 days when he received the implant.

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