Feb. 23, 2012 at 7:11 PM ET
Surgeons in Pittsburgh have successfully implanted the region's first total artificial heart, Allegheny General Hospital announced Thursday.
Doctors at Allegheny General said they implanted the SynCardia Temporary Total Artificial Heart into a 62-year-old man suffering from an acute heart attack. The operation took place on Feb. 17. The man, whose name was not released, is doing well, surgeons said.
Federal regulators have approved the SynCardia heart for transplant candidates who are suffering from end-stage heart failure of both ventricles.
The artificial heart is typically powered by a 400-pound machine that requires patients to stay in the hospital. Allegheny General is one of 30 U.S. medical centers taking part in a clinical trial of a portable version weighing 13 pounds, which allows patients to go home while waiting for a donor heart.
Nationwide, 23 people have received the portable device. The record amount of time that anyone has lived with a SynCardia heart is 46 months.
"This device can be a life-saving measure for patients whose only other option is immediate heart transplant," Dr. Stephen Bailey, director of Allegheny General's division of cardiac surgery, said in a statement.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on the surgery on their websites Thursday.