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Another artificial heart implanted

/ Source: The Associated Press

Doctors implanted an AbioCor artificial heart in a critically ill patient this week at Jewish Hospital, officials said Wednesday. It was the second such surgery this month.

The nine-hour surgery was done Monday by a medical team led by Drs. Laman Gray and Rob Dowling, hospital spokeswoman Linda McGinity Jackson said.

The patient, a male whose name was not released, was in critical but stable condition, she said.

The device’s maker, Abiomed Inc. of Danvers, Mass., said in a statement that the procedure “went well and without complication.”

It was the 14th time the totally implantable pump was placed in a human. Half the surgeries have been done at Jewish Hospital, including the first two.

The same surgical team implanted an AbioCor in another patient on May 3 at Jewish. That patient remains in critical but stable condition. That surgery was the first AbioCor implant performed by Gray and Dowling since January 2003.

Another patient received an AbioCor heart Feb. 20 at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston. The patient suffered from liver and kidney failure that predated the surgery and died May 16 when his family decided to take him off life support, Abiomed vice president Ed Berger said Wednesday.

The softball-sized AbioCor is powered by batteries and made of plastic and titanium. It has no wires or tubes sticking through the skin, unlike earlier mechanical hearts that were attached to machinery outside the body.

Abiomed has approval from the Food and Drug Administration for 15 AbioCor implants as part of the initial clinical trial. The company has said it hoped to complete the initial trial by the first half of this year.

The first AbioCor recipient, Robert Tools of Franklin, underwent the surgery in July 2001 at Jewish Hospital and lived five months before dying from a stroke. Tom Christerson, the second recipient, lived 17 months and was able to return home to Central City in western Kentucky.