Pennsylvania Father Receives Fourth Heart in Five Years
Total Artificial Heart Bridges Man to 2nd Heart Transplant After 310 Days
TUCSON, Ariz. – Sept. 1, 2009 – Over the last five years, Jim Hennigan has had four different hearts beating in his chest… the heart he was born with, two donor hearts and a Total Artificial Heart.
Hennigan received his newest donor heart on May 8, 2009, after living for more than 300 days with the SynCardia temporary CardioWest™ Total Artificial Heart.
“The Total Artificial Heart did a phenomenal job of keeping me healthy and active for more than 10 months,” said Hennigan. “My body got so used to the efficiency of the Total Artificial Heart that when I got the donor heart, it had a hard time keeping up.”
With the Total Artificial Heart, Hennigan was able to walk for up to an hour on the treadmill, ride the exercise bike and push his 450-lb driver around the hospital. The size and weight of the driver, which powered his Total Artificial Heart, kept him confined to the hospital while he waited for his matching donor heart.
“The Total Artificial Heart is fantastic,” said Hennigan. “The downside was staying in the hospital the whole time. If I’d had a portable driver like the one approved for use in Europe, I would’ve been able to do things like watch my son’s basketball games, attend my daughter’s cheerleading competitions and get up in the morning to make them lunch for school.”
Hennigan received his first heart transplant in 2004, but over time, his body suffered from chronic rejection of his new heart. In 2008, doctors told Hennigan he would need another heart transplant.
When Hennigan arrived at the hospital on July 1, 2008, his kidneys and liver had shut down. He was placed on a feeding tube because his bowels were obstructed. To save Hennigan’s life, his doctors implanted the Total Artificial Heart to recover his vital organs and bridge him to a second donor heart transplant.
During 2008, 10% of people who were implanted with the Total Artificial Heart received the device because they were suffering from rejection of their donor heart transplant (read more).
SynCardia Systems, Inc. in Tucson, Arizona is the privately-held owner and manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart for use as a bridge to transplant for people suffering from end-stage biventricular heart failure in which both ventricles can no longer pump enough blood for a person to survive.
More than 1,300 implants of the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart accounts for over 400 patient years of life on the device. Since January 2011 more than 400 SynCardia Hearts have been implanted.
The youngest patient to receive a SynCardia Heart was 9 years old; the oldest was 76 years old. The longest a patient has lived with a SynCardia Heart was nearly four years (1,374 days) before receiving a successful donor heart transplant Sept. 11, 2011.
SynCardia Systems also manufactures the Freedom® portable driver, which powers the SynCardia Heart while allowing clinically stable patients to leave the hospital to live at home and in their communities. The wearable Freedom driver has been used by more than 175 patients, accounting for over 100 years of support.