Third Patient Receives Artificial Heart
A third patient has undergone the six-hour procedure to receive a self-contained mechanical heart, the AP/New York Times reports. Following the "success" of two procedures at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Ky., earlier this summer, a third patient, who had heart failure but was not a candidate for a heart transplant, underwent surgery to receive the Abiocor artificial heart at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston. Surgeons "hail[ed]" the procedure as another success. Dr. O.H. Frazier, who worked to develop the device at the Texas Heart Institute and St. Luke's, said, "It couldn't have gone better" (AP/New York Times, 9/27). The artificial heart has been granted FDA approval for use in five patients, all dying of heart failure and too ill to qualify for human heart transplants. Under terms of the FDA approval, Abiomed is permitted to proceed with five more operations if the initial five are successful, and then five more after that if things are still going well (Schreiner, AP/Washington Post, 9/13). The AP/Times reports that Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and UCLA Medical Center have all received approval to perform the procedure (AP/New York Times, 9/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.