Home for the Holidays: 1st SynCardia Total Artificial Heart Patient Discharged from UCLA
35-Year-Old Chad Washington Rejected His First Donor Heart, Waits for Second Transplant
TUCSON, Ariz. – Jan. 10, 2013 – SynCardia Systems, Inc., manufacturer of the
world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE (Europe) approved Total Artificial Heart, announced today that Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles has discharged its first patient to receive the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart. Chad Washington, 35, left the hospital on Dec. 10, in time to celebrate the holidays at home with his wife and 4-year-old son using the Freedom® portable driver to power his Total Artificial Heart.
"This technology offers a lifeline for patients who are in severe heart failure and dying," said Dr. Richard J. Shemin, professor and chair of cardiothoracic surgery at UCLA and surgical director of the UCLA Mechanical Circulatory Support Program. "The Total Artificial Heart offers advantages over other devices used for mechanical support of patients awaiting a heart transplant. With the new Freedom driver for powering the device, the patients can leave the hospital, live at home and undergo rehabilitation, improving their clinical condition and quality of life as they await their transplant."
Washington, an aspiring personal chef, has suffered from congenital heart disease all his life. Starting at 10 days old, he has undergone a series of heart-repair surgeries throughout his life, including having pacemakers and a defibrillator implanted.
After Washington’s condition deteriorated as an adult, he received a heart transplant in February 2012. However, six months later, the donor heart started showing signs of rejection that did not respond to therapy. A second transplant wasn’t possible because his body had built up antibodies that would likely attack a new heart.
To save Washington’s life, on Oct. 29, 2012, the team at UCLA performed its first implant of the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart, led by Dr. Murray Kwon, assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery.
"By removing the patient's diseased donor heart, we removed the source of his end-stage heart failure," said Dr. Ali Nsair, assistant professor of cardiology. "The Total Artificial Heart — and being off immunosuppressant medications — allows his body to recover and get ready for a heart transplant in a few months."
Washington says he’s grateful the Total Artificial Heart is keeping him around for his son, who enjoys the ticking sound it makes. “He likes it. He thinks it's cool,” said Washington. “But he still thinks his toys are cooler.”
Weighing 13.5 pounds, the Freedom portable driver is the world’s first wearable power supply for the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart. The Freedom portable driver is CE approved for use in Europe and undergoing an FDA-approved Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) clinical study in the U.S.
"The ability to be at home with family is an important element in helping the patient to maintain a positive outlook during the waiting period," added Dr. Mario Deng, a professor of cardiology and medical director of the UCLA Advanced Heart Failure/Mechanical Support/Heart Transplant Program.
CAUTION – The Freedom portable driver is an investigational device, limited by United States law to investigational use.
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.
Janelle Drumwright, email@example.com, (520) 547-7463