After 832 Days, San Camillo Hospital Transplants 1st Total Artificial Heart Patient
40-Year-Old Father Enjoyed 2 Years of Life at Home and in His Community While Waiting for Donor Heart Using Portable Driver
TUCSON, Ariz. – April 21, 2011 – On April 2, San Camillo Hospital in Rome discharged its first patient to be bridged to transplant with SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart. On Feb. 23, after 832 days of life with the Total Artificial Heart, Giuseppe Nicotera received the heart transplant he'd been waiting more than two years for.
"For our first patient, SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart proved to be an effective mechanical support treatment," said Prof. Francesco Musumeci, Director of Cardiac Surgery and Heart Transplantation. "The device rapidly stabilized the patient's hemodynamics and provided full recovery of end-organ function. We consider the Total Artificial Heart a safe option to offer to our patients in cases of severe biventricular heart failure."
Mr. Nicotera, a 40-year-old hospital laboratory technician and married father of one, was admitted to San Camillo Hospital in October 2008 suffering from severe heart failure. His liver and kidneys began to fail while in the Intensive Care Unit. On Nov. 13, 2008, doctors decided to implant the Total Artificial Heart as the only option to stabilize his condition until a matching donor heart became available.
"After I received the Total Artificial Heart, I felt much better... as good as I felt before I developed my severe illness," said Mr. Nicotera. "When I was told I would be able to go home using the portable driver, I was surprised and very happy. I rejoined my family and my friends. I enjoyed a normal life!"
Once stable, Mr. Nicotera was switched from the large hospital implant driver to a small portable driver which is CE approved for use in Europe. About a month later, he was discharged from the hospital to wait for his transplant at home with his family.
"The Total Artificial Heart proved to be effective for patient care outside the hospital," said cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Antonio Loforte. "It provided, in our opinion, a much improved quality of life for this patient until he received his heart transplant."
In Italy, more than 700 patients are waiting for a matching donor heart but only approximately 300 heart transplants are performed each year. The average wait time for a heart transplant is about 2 years and approximately 10% of patients die while waiting.
SynCardia would like to recognize and thank Managing Director Claudio Gibelli and Vega S.p.A., the Italian distributor for the Total Artificial Heart, for their commitment and ongoing support of San Camillo Hospital.
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 SynCardia 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.
Janelle Drumwright, firstname.lastname@example.org, (520) 547-7463