British man survives artificial heart transplant

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

File photo of an artificial heart
Image: JNakashima.

A 40-year-old man from the United Kingdom has survived an operation in which he was given a wholly artificial heart. It is believed that this is the first time in the UK that a patient has been able to return home with such an implant.

Matthew Green, a father of one, experienced the operation in Papworth Hospital, located in Cambridgeshire, England. His health has declined over the last few years, and he has suffered a substantial heart disorder, identified as arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD). He is waiting to have a human heart implanted. The disease would have claimed his life had the operation to implant a plastic heart not occurred. Approximately nine hundred operations of this nature have already taken place worldwide.

Having survived the transplant, Green stated that the plastic heart will "revolutionise" his life. "Before I couldn't walk anywhere," commented Green. He described his ability "to be with normal people again" as "fantastic". Having the opportunity to live a relatively regular life "means the world" to Green.

Providing a nine-and-a-half litre blood flow at its peak, the plastic heart can provide roughly twice that of a resting human body. The artificial heart was implanted last June in a six-hour operation. Unlike other mechanical hearts, Green's heart is powered by a pump that can be transported in a handheld bag.


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