Thursday, May 19, 2011
PHOENIX — Mayo Clinic in Arizona has performed its 100th heart transplant since the program opened in the fall of 2005 — a significant milestone, given that Mayo Clinic is the only medical center doing adult heart transplants in Maricopa County.
The 100th heart transplant patient, a 46-year-old man from Glendale, Ariz., is recuperating following the 10-hour hour surgery on Wednesday, May 18. The surgery was performed by Francisco Arabia, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon and surgical director of Mayo's Heart Transplant and Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) program.
Mayo Clinic in Arizona is a leader in mechanical circulatory support devices, including VADs and the total artificial heart. Such devices are implanted into patients with severe heart failure to support the human heart until a transplant can take place — or, in a number of VAD cases, as life-long cardiac support.
A VAD does not replace the native heart, but uses pumps to assist the heart in pumping blood to the body. With the total artificial heart, both the left and right ventricles of the human heart are removed, and the artificial heart works to restore blood flow.
The first heart transplant patient, a then 58-year-old Scottsdale woman, is doing well today following her transplant in October 2005 and is active in volunteer work in the Valley.
Prior to her transplant, that first patient, because of sudden cardiac failure, was placed on a VAD while she waited. Coincidentally, the 100th patient, who also experienced heart failure, required an artificial heart while he awaited transplantation. Both patients were able to be stabilized enough to be transplanted because of high-tech mechanical support devices.
In the case of the 100th transplant patient, technology has advanced to the point where he was able to wait at home until his donor heart became available, connected to a much smaller, backpack version of the total artificial heart that weighs just over 13 pounds. Previously, patients on the artificial heart had to remain hospitalized because the device was powered by a 400-pound driver that prohibited mobility.
Following are statistics about the use of mechanical circulatory support devices at Mayo:
In 26 cases, Mayo's unique "transport team," sometimes referred to as its "Swat" team, was able to make emergency runs to referring Valley hospitals to help stabilize patients and transport them to Mayo Clinic for further care. In some cases, a mechanical support device was implanted at the referring hospital because of the severity of their cardiac condition. This transplant system is one of the few in the U.S.
"We are proud of this 100th heart transplant milestone," says Dr. Arabia. "It is especially rewarding that the growth of the program means we can continue to serve patients in the Valley and beyond." Dr. Arabia credits the work of Donor Network of Arizona for its commitment to bringing awareness to the need for organ donation so that more organs can be available to help others in need.
"It is a privilege to be in a position to treat heart failure and help patients resume their healthy and productive lives," Dr. Arabia added.
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