Los Angeles: A 44-year-old woman in the US has received a life-saving heart transplant, thanks to an experimental artificial heart designed for smaller patients. The woman is the first person in California to receive the smaller Total Artificial Heart, and the first patient in the world with the device to be bridged to a successful heart transplant, researchers said.
The 50cc SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart is a smaller investigational version of the larger 70cc SynCardia heart, which was approved for use in people awaiting a transplant by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2004 and has been used by more than 1,440 patients worldwide.
The 50cc device is designed to be used by smaller patients with end-stage biventricular heart failure, where both sides of the heart are failing to pump enough blood to sustain the body. The device provides mechanical support until a donor heart can be found. Nemah Kahala, a wife and mother of five, was transferred to University of California, LA from Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Centre in March. She was suffering from restrictive heart muscle disease and was in critical condition.
Her heart failure was so advanced that repair surgery and other mechanical assist devices could not help. “Kahala’s condition was deteriorating so rapidly that she would have not survived while waiting for a transplant,” said her surgeon, Dr Abbas Ardehali.