University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

News Article

Artificial Heart Recipient Heads Home

The first person to receive a total artificial heart from UI Hospitals and Clinics was discharged August 9.

Richard Whittington, 59, from Geneseo, Illinois, received the total artificial heart in early July. He is the first person with the device to be discharged from a hospital in the Midwest, according to the manufacturer.

"We are very pleased with Mr. Whittington's rapid progress," said the cardiothoracic surgeon who implanted the device. "This technology has clearly benefited him greatly, and we fully expect that we can help other patients who also need this type of highly advanced care and support."

The SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart is the world's first total artificial heart currently approved as a bridge to transplant by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for people dying from end-stage heart failure affecting both sides of the heart (biventricular heart failure).

"When all other treatments fail, only SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart can save the sickest of the sick," said Michael Garippa, SynCardia CEO/President. "A leading program in the Midwest, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has added the world's only approved Total Artificial Heart to its already impressive resume. As a SynCardia Center of Excellence, UI Hospitals and Clinics will serve as a 'hub' center for patient referrals throughout the region for the Total Artificial Heart."

Similar to a heart transplant, the Total Artificial Heart replaces both failing heart ventricles and the four heart valves, eliminating the symptoms and source of end-stage biventricular heart failure.

Frances Johnson, MD, a cardiologist in the UI Heart and Vascular Center, said, "We will continue to work closely with Mr. Whittington's referring physicians to monitor his status, but indications thus far are telling us that he should do very well on this technology."

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