40-year-old UK man receives Total Artificial Heart implant

A 40-year-old man has become the first person in the UK to receive a Total Artificial Heart implant and be discharged from hospital.

Matthew Green had been critically ill suffering from end-stage biventricular heart failure, but a six-hour operation, carried out by surgeons at Papworth Hospital on 9 June, replaced his damaged heart with a Total Artificial Heart developed by Tucson, Arizona-based SynCardia Systems.

The SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart is a device used as a bridge to transplant for patients dying from end-stage biventricular heart failure, where both sides of the heart are failing.

Similar to a heart transplant, this device replaces failing ventricles and native heart valves, providing blood flow of up to 9.5 litres per minute throughout the body, which eliminates the symptoms and effects of severe heart failure.

According to SynCardia Systems, this high volume of blood flow also helps vital organs to recover faster, helping make patients better transplant candidates.

The transplant team at Papworth Hospital, led by Mr Steven Tsui, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon and director of the transplant service, underwent training in Paris and the team was assisted by Dr Latif Arusoglu from Bad Oeynhausen, Germany.

Green suffered from Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC), a heart-muscle disease that results in arrhythmia, heart failure and sudden death.

‘Matthew’s condition was deteriorating rapidly and we discussed with him the possibility of receiving this device, because without it he may not have survived the wait until a suitable donor heart could be found for him,’ said Tsui.

‘The operation went extremely well and Matthew has made an excellent recovery. I expect him to go home very soon, being able to do a lot more than before the operation with a vastly improved quality of life until we can find a suitable donor heart for him to have a heart transplant,’ added Mr Tsui.

According to SynCardia Systems, the Total Artificial Heart contains no motors or electronics inside the body.

All electronics are located outside the body in the pneumatic driver, which powers the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart and monitors blood flow.

Green will return home using the Freedom portable driver to power his artificial heart. Weighing 13.5lb, the Freedom driver is said to be the world’s first wearable portable driver designed to power the Total Artificial Heart inside and outside the hospital. It is designed to be worn by the patient in a specially designed backpack or shoulder bag.