Photo: HeartWare device
A 51-year-old man with a grave case of heart failure underwent an operation for a mechanical heart implant, a technique that in the future could be an alternative to a human heart transplant.
The HeartWare device was implanted March 5 at La Fe Hospital in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia.
The patient and medical team held a press conference Friday.
“When I got to the hospital I was in a really bad state. I was on my way down the corridor to death with no chance of a pardon, and the future was short and terrible,” the patient Vicente Sorribes said.
The patient was implanted in the lower left-hand part of the heart, and connected to the aorta, with a small device fitted with a centrifugal pump and a tube. The pump operates by means of a wire that emerges from the abdomen and connects to a small computer driven by rechargeable batteries and which the patient always has with him.
The director of the Santa Fe Clinical Area for Cardiovascular Diseases, Jose A. Montero, said that with Sorribes, afflicted with hypertrophic cardiomiopathy, a real heart transplant was “unthinkable” and that the only option was this mechanical system.
Montero said that with the decline in the number of heart donors, this technique could be “the future,” not only to substitute a transplant but additionally so that a patient in very unstable condition can live until a donor heart comes available.
This operation costs approximately 90,000 euros ($120,000), less than a heart transplant since there is no chance of rejection as can occur with a human organ.