First patient in Slovakia has implanted artificial heart

Though the artificial heart enables a normal life, the patient will remain on a transplant waiting list.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME archive)

Surgeons of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NÚSCH) implanted an artificial heart in a patient on November 1, for the very first time in eastern Europe.

The 47-year-old patient is currently recovering after the three-hour surgery.

“The patient’s life was in danger and he was waiting for a suitable donor,” said Michal Hulman, head of the cardiac surgery department of NÚSCH, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “After careful preparation we decided to give him an artificial heart. Though the whole team underwent training, we did not know how this difficult surgery will turn out.”

The doctors confirmed that the patient is recovering quickly and does not require expensive immunosuppressive treatment. He is currently connected to the Companion hospital unit. After his condition is stabilised and all criteria are met, he will be connected to the drive composed of a six-kilogram pack with devices running on batteries.

After being sent home, the patient will remain on the waiting list for a heart transplant. Yet he is able to live a normal life, TASR reported.

The patient is already the 1,741st person to have a SynCardia TAH (Total Artificial Heart). Only several dozens of surgeries implanting a TAH heart are carried out every year, said head of NÚSCH Mongi Msolly.

“The purchase of necessary hardware costs €120,000 and the hospitalisation of the patient costs about €15,000,” Msolly said, as quoted by TASR, adding that the costs are covered by the health insurer.

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