Iowa's First Total Artificial Heart


University of Iowa Heart and Vascular Center has achieved a new medical first in Iowa—the implantation of a SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH)—the newest treatment option for the sickest heart failure patients. Similar to a heart transplant, the TAH replaces both failing heart ventricles, four heart valves, and pumps a high volume of blood to help vital organs recover faster. This allows stable patients to wait for a matching donor heart at home, and resume a more normal lifestyle. Once stable, TAH patients at hospitals in the United States are listed UNOS Status 1A and moved to the top of the transplant list.

Facts About the Total Artificial Heart

When both sides of the heart can no longer pump enough blood to sustain the body (end stage biventricular failure), vital organs like the kidneys, liver and brain are starved of blood. It is a race against time to restore adequate blood flow to the body before tissue dies and vital organs suffer permanent damage. For these critically ill patients, there are two treatment options: an immediate donor heart transplant or the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart as a bridge to transplant.

  • Similar to a donor heart transplant, the Total Artificial Heart is the only device that eliminates the symptoms and source of end-stage biventricular heart failure.
  • Unlike a donor heart, the Total Artificial Heart is instantly available at SynCardia Certified Centers.
  • The Total Artificial Heart replaces both native heart ventricles and the four native heart valves.
  • Implanting the Total Artificial Heart eliminates the following native heart complications:
    • Arrhythmias, which may require a pacemaker or defibrillator. In 2006, 418,000 patients underwent surgery for a pacemaker and 114,000 underwent surgery for a defibrillator.
    • Failing ventricles, which may require medication or a ventricular assist device (VAD)
    • Malfunctioning heart valves, which may require surgery to correct or replace. In 2006, 104,000 patients underwent valve surgeries. (Source: American Heart Association 2006)
     
  • 90% of patients who receive the Total Artificial Heart are in the two sickest INTERMACS® categories of heart failure classification prior to implant, whereas 73% of BiVAD/ LVAD patients are in the two sickest categories.
  • The Total Artificial Heart is the only device that provides immediate, safe blood flow of up to 9.5 L/min through both ventricles to help vital organs recover faster, which helps make the patient a better transplant candidate.
  • During the 10-year pivotal clinical study, approximately 65% of the core Total Artificial Heart patients were out of bed by the 5th day after implant.
  • Two weeks after implant, 60% of core Total Artificial Heart patients were walking more than 100 feet.
  • The Total Artificial Heart has the highest bridge to transplant rate of any approved mechanical circulatory support device, 79%
  • Once stable, Total Artificial Heart patients in the hospital are listed UNOS Status 1A and moved to the top of the transplant list.
  • While waiting for a donor heart transplant, the longest a patient has been supported by the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart is 1,000+ days and counting.
  • Over 900 implants of the Total Artificial Heart account for more than 210 patient years of life.
  • Total Artificial Heart patients supported by the European portable driver account for 50 of these patient years.

This information is courtesy of SynCardia Systems, Inc.