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Advocate Christ Medical Center news

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His Heart May Be Mechanical, but His Emotions Heart-Felt; 1st Patient in State Discharged with Total Artificial Heart

Oak Lawn, IL Sixty-four-year-old Leroy Haynes was all smiles as he left Advocate Christ Medical Center with his wife, Patricia, by his side, after becoming the first patient in Illinois to be discharged to home with a total artificial heart.  The mechanical implant completely replaces the function of the human heart, doctors at the medical center said during yesterday’s (September 13) news conference. 

Surgeons implanted the retired postal worker with a SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart, the latest advancement in mechanical heart technology.  Haynes suffers from end-stage heart failure and requires this temporary device to remain alive while he awaits a heart transplant.

“The Total Artificial Heart is the first device of its kind to receive FDA approval. The device is implanted in place of the heart and keeps blood pumping throughout the body,” said Michael Bresticker, MD, cardiac surgeon, Advocate Christ Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Institute. “This is tremendous technology that can have a lifesaving impact on patients who are experiencing advanced heart failure. For this patient, it was the only option to keep him alive until a donor heart becomes available.” 

A 13.5-pound backpack is outfitted with a mechanical pumping device called the Freedom® portable driver, which is designed to power the Total Artificial Heart outside the hospital. The system will give Haynes the freedom to be more mobile and perform normal, daily activities.

The Total Artificial Heart serves as a bridge to transplant for patients who suffer from end-stage biventricular heart failure, a condition in which both sides of the heart become weakened and cannot pump blood adequately throughout the body.

“An artificial heart is distinct from a ventricular assist device, which is designed to support – not replace – a failing heart. It is also distinct from a cardiopulmonary bypass machine, which is an external device used to assume the functions of both the heart and lungs for only a few hours at a time, most commonly during cardiac surgery,” said Geetha Bhat MD,medical director of the campus’ center for Heart Transplant and Mechanical Assist Devices.

Surgeons say the Total Artificial Heart is appropriate only for patients with severe end-stage heart failure.

Meanwhile, Haynes was happy to be leaving the hospital where he spent some three months recovering and learning to be mobile and self-sufficient with his new mechanical companion.

“I’m looking forward to going home and enjoying my friends and family,” he said.

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About Advocate Christ Medical Center
Advocate Christ Medical Center is part of Advocate Health Care, which is one of the nation’s leading health care networks. A not-for-profit, 695-bed, premier teaching institution with nearly 1,000 affiliated physicians, Christ Medical Center is a leader in health care and one of the major referral hospitals in the Midwest in a number of specialties, including cardiovascular services, heart and kidney transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, orthopedics, pediatrics and women’s health. The hospital also has one of the busiest Level I trauma centers in Illinois providing emergency care for more than 90,000 patient visits annually and is a leader in breakthrough technologies, including eICU® (electronic intensive care unit) monitoring, robotic da Vinci Surgery System® and CyberKnife® Radiosurgery.  In 2012, the medical center was named to the Thomson Reuters® list of 100 Top Hospitals, while U.S. News & World Report ranked the medical center among the nation’s leading providers for cardiology and heart surgery and for geriatric medicine and ranked it fourth overall among hospitals in the state of Illinois. The hospital is also recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Magnet Center. Magnet status represents the highest honor in the nursing profession. To obtain more information or to visit our newsroom, log on to:  Located on the same campus is Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital, the largest freestanding pediatric medical facility in the south and southwest suburbs and houses a Level IIIc neonatal intensive care unit, the highest designation awarded in Illinois.

About the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart

SynCardia Systems, Inc. (Tucson, AZ) is the privately-held manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart. Originally used as a permanent replacement heart, SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart is currently approved as a bridge to transplant for people dying from end-stage biventricular heart failure. There have been more than 1,000 implants of the Total Artificial Heart, accounting for more than 270 patient years of life. Similar to a heart transplant, SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart replaces both failing heart ventricles and the four heart valves, eliminating the symptoms and source of end-stage biventricular failure. Unlike a donor heart, the Total Artificial Heart is immediately available at SynCardia Certified Centers. It is the only device that provides immediate, safe blood flow of up to 9.5 liters per minute through each ventricle. This high volume of safe blood flow helps speed the recovery of vital organs, helping make the patient a better transplant candidate.


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