First Successful Bridge to Transplant with Experimental Artificial Heart

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A 44-year-old woman was the first patient in California to be approved for the 50cc Syncardia temporary total artificial heart, which has not yet been FDA approved. The device is used for patients with biventrical heart failure. The larger 70cc Syncardia heart, which was FDA approved for patients awaiting transplant in 2004, has been used by over 1,440 patients worldwide. The 50cc design is intended for smaller patients, such as most women, adolescents, and some men.

Nemah Kahala, a mother of five, was suffering from restrictive heart muscle disease and was transferred to UCLA in critical condition in March, earlier this year. Due to the advanced nature of her condition, surgery and mechanical assist devices were not an option and UCLA was able to obtain a one-time emergency use approval for this experimental device. The device provided an immediate blood flow, improving her condition, and two weeks later she was strong enough to be placed on the heart transplant wait list. One week later, she received her transplant, making her the first patient in the world to be successfully bridged to transplant with this device.

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Read the UCLA press release

Read more about the Syncardia device


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