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SynCardia Systems, Inc.

Press Release:

University of Iowa Discharges 1st Total Artificial Heart Patient in the Midwest

59-Year-Old Farmer Waits for Matching Donor Heart at Home as Part of FDA Clinical Study of Freedom® Portable Driver

Richard Whittington, the first SynCardia Total Artificial Heart patient in the Midwest to be discharged from the hospital using the Freedom® portable driver, is interviewed by reporters at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Richard Whittington, the first SynCardia Total Artificial Heart patient in the Midwest to be discharged from the hospital using the Freedom® portable driver, is interviewed by reporters at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. TUCSON, Ariz. – Aug. 24, 2011 – SynCardia Systems, Inc., manufacturer of the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart, announced today that University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has discharged the first Total Artificial Heart patient in the Midwest to wait for a matching donor heart at home using a portable power supply called the Freedom® driver. Richard Whittington, 59, received the Total Artificial Heart on July 6 and after 34 days was discharged from the hospital on Aug. 9.

"We are very pleased with Mr. Whittington's rapid progress," said James Davis, M.D., the cardiothoracic surgeon who implanted the Total Artificial Heart. "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."

Since age 33, Mr. Whittington has had five heart attacks, one stroke, two pacemakers, 11 stents and open heart bypass surgery. Having lived in pain from his heart problems for the past 15 years, today he says he feels great other than a little soreness from the surgery. He says he is looking forward to sitting on his porch, watching the corn grow and eating fresh tomatoes from his garden. 

"We will continue to work closely with his referring physicians to monitor his status, but indications thus far are telling us that he should do very well on this technology," explained Jennifer Goerbig-Campbell, M.D., a cardiologist in the UI Heart and Vascular Center.

Mr. Whittington is participating in the FDA-approved Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) clinical study of the Freedom portable driver. Weighing 13.5 pounds, the Freedom driver is the first U.S. portable driver designed to power the Total Artificial Heart both inside and outside the hospital. As of today, there have been 25 people enrolled in the Freedom driver study. Of those 25, Mr. Whittington is the 13th to be discharged from the hospital.

"I'm going to go home, and they're going to go out and get me a heart," said Mr. Whittington. "After that, we'll have a big party."

CAUTION – The Freedom® portable driver is an investigational device, limited by United States law to investigational use.

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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, jdrumwright@syncardia.com, (520) 547-7463

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