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hiphop-elements.com • View topic - Artificial Heart Patient OK

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PostPosted: 07/04/01 02:34:00 PM 
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Wednesday July 4 3:43 PM ET
Doctor: Artificial Heart Patient OK
By MIKE CHAMBERS, Associated Press Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The man who received the world's first self-contained artificial heart had been in ``dire'' condition, but the device may enable him to have a long and productive life, one of his doctors said Wednesday.

Officials of Jewish Hospital declined to release the patient's name or his hometown but said he was in his mid- to late 50s.

Because of his poor condition - he had been given an 80 percent chance of dying within 30 days - he had been turned down for a heart transplant elsewhere, doctors said.

``He had no other option,'' Dr. Laman Gray told reporters. ``He was in as dire shape as you can ever have anybody in.''

The man has chronic kidney failure, diabetes and had multiple heart attacks, Gray said. He had had previous coronary bypass surgery, around 1992.

Forty-eight hours after the surgery, Gray would not rule out the possibility that the patient could someday leave the hospital powered by the device, called the AbioCor.

``I'm extremely optimistic of a long term life and a productive live,'' Gray said. ``We are extremely pleased with his progress.''

Doctors on Wednesday began weaning the man from a ventilator that he has been on since the surgery. He awoke about four hours after the operation and has visited with his family but was unable to talk because of the respiratory device.

Doctors had said they expect the artificial heart to extend the man's life by only about a month, but they don't know how long the device could last.

The surgical team has implanted similar devices in 40 baby cows, all with no serious defects. The devices also have been operating nonstop in a laboratory for more than a year, said Dr. Robert D. Dowling, who participated in the surgery with his colleague from the University of Louisville.

``Our hope is that he lives for months, or years,'' Dowling said.

The softball-sized titanium and plastic pump was implanted Monday by a team of 14 surgeons and support staff during a seven-hour operation at Jewish Hospital.

It is intended to be a permanent replacement for the man's failing heart. The hope is the mechanism will one day allow recipients to lead a relatively normal life, said John Watson of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, which has given $20 million toward research into self-contained artificial hearts.

The AbioCor, manufactured by Abiomed Inc. (NasdaqNM:ABMD - news) of Danvers, Mass., is considered a technological leap from the mechanical hearts used in the 1980s, such as the Jarvik-7. Those devices were attached by wires and tubes to bulky machinery outside the body.

The AbioCor has electronic controls that adjust the pumping speed based on the body's activity level that receive wireless power through the skin by portable battery packs that each last up to four hours.

A rechargeable internal battery - about the size of a pager - will operate the device for up to 30 minutes, allowing the wearer to take a shower or walk to the refrigerator.

It raises hope for some that up to 100,000 Americans who require cardiac therapy may have an alternative treatment. Only about half of the 4,200 Americans on waiting lists for donor hearts received one last year.

``We will succeed. Because if we don't succeed, there will be no replacement heart, ever,'' said David M. Dederman, Abiomed president and chief executive officer. ``We will give it whatever it takes so that we succeed eventually.''

However, Dr. Robert K. Jarvik, who invented the Jarvik-7 artificial heart, said it raises ``false hope'' since it's size would disqualify most women and would help only about 1 percent of those in need of new hearts.

``I think it's an obsolete approach,'' Jarvik said, adding that medical science should focus on allowing the natural heart mechanical help in healing itself.

Gray said the doctors labored over the ethical dilemma of a human experiment that replaces the heart, the body's engine. He said the patient volunteered for the surgery, has a medical advocate working on the behalf of the family and that the doctors have no financial connection with Abiomed.

While the two lead surgeons remained optimistic about the man's chance of survival - calling the operation flawless - they said the patient is still in danger.

The baby cows surgeons previously worked on had a significant advantage over the candidates for the five mechanical hearts; the animals were healthy.

``These patients are so ill that it is very likely that one or more may not survive the 60-day period even if the device functions perfectly well,'' Dowling said.

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PostPosted: 07/05/01 09:01:00 PM 
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It still isn't a real heart. Scientists have a long way before they can replicate organs.


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PostPosted: 07/06/01 04:20:00 AM 
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Waitaminute!!!! So the internal battery only lasts for 30 minutes?!?! That reminds me of those movies where people have been poisoned and they'll die in a certain amount of time unless they get the antidote. What if something happens and that dude isn't able to plug his external power back in. They should make the internal power last longer. Put an energizer in that bitch.

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PostPosted: 07/06/01 11:02:00 AM 
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^^haha....

yeah that is kinda wack, but i dunno, it's a start atleast.


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