Record: Patients live 5 years with artificial heart

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European record: Patients have been living with an artificial heart for five years. 150 people have already been treated to an artificial heart at the medical university.

(10/28/2010) Cardiac surgery at the Hannover Medical School (MHH) is one of the best in the world. Since 2005, more than 150 patients have been treated with an artificial heart. The first of these patients have been living with the artificial heart for five years. This is a European record and reason enough to take a closer look at the new generation of artificial hearts.

European record at MHH Prof. Dr. Martin Strüber, deputy medical director of the Clinic for Cardiac, Thoracic, Transplantation and Vascular Surgery at the Medical University of Hanover (MHH) had the now 26-year-old Nino Wolfram, the 50-year-old Uwe Schulze and the 28-year-old Bastian Heidhoff in the The continuously pumping heart support system "Heartmate II" was used in the second half of 2005. The three patients at the MHH were among the first in the world to have the new generation of artificial hearts implanted. Only in the USA do two patients live a little longer with the appropriate heart support system.

No pulse through mini-turbines artificial heart Actually, the miniature pumps were only intended as short-term bridging systems for patients with impending heart failure until a suitable donor heart is available. However, the three patients have been living with their artificial hearts for five years. "I am glad that I got the artificial heart - otherwise I would not live anymore," emphasized Nino Wolfram, who thanks to the heart support system can now not only climb stairs again, but also cycle and go to the gym. In addition to the tiny ones What is special about the "Heartmate II" system is that the pumps, like small turbines, continuously transport the blood and the patients therefore no longer have a pulse. "Five years ago, we could not be sure that life without a pulse would last for years goes well and all organs can adjust to the lack of pulse, "explained Prof. Strüber and added that the doctors now have the certainty that" patients with these artificial hearts can live properly for five years ".

150 artificial heart implants since 2005 With more than 150 artificial heart implants since 2005, the MHH is one of the largest treatment centers in Europe that implants such support systems. Prof. Axel Haverich, Director of the MHH Clinic for Cardiac, Thoracic, Transplantation and Vascular Surgery, emphasizes that the implantation of artificial hearts "is only the second best care (but) because there are not enough donor hearts for a transplantation "We have to fall back on". In 2009 only 363 hearts could be transplanted although there were many more people on the waiting list for a donor organ. Already in 2004 around 400 patients were waiting for a donor heart and the number has more than doubled since The specialists emphasize that the "Heartmate II" support system offers a good alternative to bridge the waiting time. It is inserted directly into the chest, with the inlet cannula in the left tip of the heart (apex) is implanted and the outlet cannula is implanted into the main artery (ascending aorta) via a vascular prosthesis. However, patients must always carry a battery-operated device with them, which controls the pump and whose batteries have to be charged or replaced every two to three hours.

Artificial heart research advances The expert Prof. Strüber emphasized that although he had expected artificial hearts to be implanted for a long time when deciding to implant them, it was not known when the pilot project started. And until today it has not been clearly clarified how long the pumps will work, the specialist explained. "I think the pumps can still last a good ten years, but the hoses, for example, are more of a problem," says Prof. Strüber. However, research is progressing steadily, so that there are already devices that are much smaller and therefore more comfortable to wear than the previously transplanted pumps, the specialist explained. (fp)

Also read:
First child receives permanent artificial heart

Photo credit: German Federal Archive, image 183-1988-1208-002, author: Sindermann, Jürgen.

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