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SynCardia Systems, Inc.

Press Release:

1st Hospital in Greece Begins Certification Training to Implant SynCardia’s Total Artificial Heart

Total Artificial Heart Will Provide New Option for Patients in Country with Lowest Rate of Organ Donation in Europe

Dr. Petros Sfirakis Dr. Petros Sfirakis TUCSON, Ariz. – Mar. 9, 2010 – On March 4 & 5, the surgical team from the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, led by Dr. Petros Sfirakis, Director of the Transplantation Department & Mechanical Support Unit and Dr. Louis Louca, Surgeon/VAD Coordinator, completed the first phase of certification training to implant the SynCardia temporary CardioWest™ Total Artificial Heart. Team members from St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia, also attended the training, including Dr. Phillip Spratt, Head of Cardiopulmonary Transplant and Cardiothoracic Unit, Dr. Paul Jansz, Cardiothoracic and Transplant Surgeon, Mr. Claude Soto, Clinical Perfusionist and Ms. Desiree Robson, Cardiac Mechanical Assist Co-ordinator.

“Many people die waiting for a heart transplant in Greece because we have the lowest rate of organ donation in Europe,” said Dr. Sfirakis. “The Total Artificial Heart can save the lives of patients with end-stage biventricular failure and improve their overall health so they are in better condition for their heart transplant.”

Greece has an annual rate of only seven donors per million population. Despite the low number of donor hearts, according to “Heart Transplantation in a Low-Organ-Donation Environment: A Single Center Experience,” (Transplant Proceedings, December 2009), over 13 years (1996-2008), the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center has achieved post-transplant survival rates of 94% in the first year, 92% at five years and 70% at ten years.

The Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center is the first hospital in Greece and the 51st in the world to complete the first phase of certification training. To become a SynCardia Certified Center, hospitals must apply for and complete a rigorous, four-phase training program, including the first proctored implant by an experienced Total Artificial Heart surgeon.

Ms. Rhonda Walck, Clinical Education Manager for SynCardia’s distributor in Australia and New Zealand, Device Technologies Australia Pty Ltd, also attended the training.


About SynCardia Systems, LLC
SynCardia Systems, LLC in Tucson, Ariz., is the privately-held manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart. For people suffering from end-stage heart failure affecting both sides of the heart (biventricular failure), the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart is used as a bridge to transplant, helping them survive until a matching donor heart becomes available. SynCardia also manufactures the Freedom® portable driver, which powers the temporary Total Artificial Heart and allows clinically stable patients to be discharged from the hospital to enjoy life at home while they wait for a heart transplant.

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SynCardia Contact:
Janelle Drumwright,, (520) 547-7463

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