Bellvitge hospital carries out first ever total artificial heart implant
Center near Barcelona provides 30-year-old man with device to replace failed ventricles while he waits for conventional transplant
The Bellvitge university hospital, just outside Barcelona, has for the first time ever carried out a total artificial heart transplant.
The complex technique was carried out on a patient in whom two heart ventricles had failed and who suffers from pulmonary hypertension, which ruled out a conventional transplant.
The aim was to implant an artificial device to substitute the patient's ventricles, allowing the blood pressure to normalize so that he can soon undergo a regular heart transplant.
The patient, a 30-year-old man, underwent the - so far successful - surgery on May 27, and will be able to receive a conventional heart transplant in a matter of months.
While doctors say it is still too early to say whether the operation was a complete success, the patient can breathe for himself, and the aim is for him to be able to go home.
Patients who have had similar devices implanted can lead normal lives, as long as they are careful with two cables that protrude from their bodies.
Since 2007, Bellvitge has carried out 24 operations to implant mechanical ventricular devices, making it a leading center in this field.
Of the 24, some 10 patients went on to successfully receive heart transplants, while another 10 are living normal lives while waiting for a conventional transplant.