St. Vincent’s Hospital Implants Australia’s First Total Artificial Heart
Sydney Hospital to Serve as SynCardia’s Regional Certification Center for Asia-Pacific
TUCSON, Ariz. – Aug. 19, 2010 – On Aug. 5, St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney performed Australia’s first implant of the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart. The patient, a 50-year-old-male suffering from total heart failure, is the first recipient of the Total Artificial Heart in the Southern Hemisphere. The surgery was performed by heart surgeons Drs. Phillip Spratt and Paul Jansz. View extensive Media Coverage
“At any one time there can be around 30 people waiting for a heart transplant at our hospital,” said Dr. Spratt, Head of the St. Vincent’s Hospital Heart/Lung Transplant Unit. “We selected this patient to receive the Total Artificial Heart as a bridge-to-transplant because without it, he would have had less than two weeks to live.”
Angelo Tigano had suffered from idiopathic cardiomyopathy for more than a decade. Walking more than a few steps left him gasping for breath, until finally he was unable to eat or sleep. Mr. Tigano says he hopes the Total Artificial Heart will improve his quality of life and allow him to return to some of the normal activities he did before suffering heart failure.
“The Total Artificial Heart has no equal,” said Dr. Spratt, who led the Total Artificial Heart implant surgery. “Unlike a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), which helps the failing left ventricle, the Total Artificial Heart replaces both the left and right heart ventricles which are responsible for pumping blood.”
The implant surgery was proctored by world renowned heart surgeon Dr. Jack Copeland, who recently joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego, and has performed more than 100 implants of the Total Artificial Heart. St. Vincent’s Hospital is the 31st hospital in the world to become a SynCardia Certified Center. Currently, there are Certified Centers in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Austria, Russia and now Australia.
St. Vincent’s is the largest transplant hospital in Australia and will serve as SynCardia’s Regional Certification Center for the Asia-Pacific. Device Technologies is the Australasian distributor of the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart and is a major supplier of leading edge medical equipment and consumables to hospitals and healthcare professionals throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia. Despite the increase in this condition and consequent growing demand for transplants, the supply of donor hearts is falling in Australia. In 2009, a total of 60 heart transplants took place, compared with 82 in 2008. Australia has one of the lowest donation rates in the developed world with only 12 donors per million in 2008.
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.