Patient receives Gulf South's first total artificial heart - FOX 8, WVUE,, weather, app, news, saints

Patient receives Gulf South's first total artificial heart

The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart

A patient recovering at Ochsner Hospital has made history -- he's the first person to receive an artificial heart in our region.

Dr. Aditya Bansal performed the surgery on February 20.  The doctor says the patient, whose name and age are not being released, is doing well.  

"He's talking to his family and he's involving himself in physical activities," Bansal said.

Bansal shows off a plastic heart like the one placed in the patient. The patient's right and left ventricles were failing, and the SynCardia Total Artificial heart was the only option to keep him alive awaiting a transplant.

Cardiologist Hector Ventura describes the state these patients are in before transplant. "People can not leave the hospital, they are on IV medicine, they can't do anything. They can't move from here to there," said Ventura.

After initial preps, the patient is placed on a heart-lung bypass machine.  "You do connections of the artificial heart and once that is done you have to wean patients off the heart-lung bypass machine and heart takes over," Bansal said.

"You replace a heart, basically," said Ventura. "You cut the heart and put in a new one."

The surgery takes 8 to 12 hours.

On January 9, 1970, John Ochsner performed the first heart transplant in the Gulf South.  And, at age 86, he was in the operating room, observing the first total artificial heart implant in the Gulf South.

"He was also extremely impressed with the change in technology and the advancements medicine has brought about," Bansal said.

Bansal said the longest survivor of an artificial heart transplant did so for five years. After that, the patient in Europe received a real heart transplant.

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