Skip to main content /HEALTH with /HEALTH

Artificial heart patient dies

The fourth man to receive the artificial heart has died, doctors in Los Angeles said.
The fourth man to receive the artificial heart has died, doctors in Los Angeles said.  

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A 74-year-old man who received a self-contained artificial heart has died, 56 days after being fitted with the pioneering device, UCLA Medical Center announced Thursday.

The patient, whose name was not released, died Wednesday. He was one of five patients who was successfully fitted with the AbioCor artificial heart and the second to die after living with the device for several weeks. A third AbioCor heart patient died while being fitted with the device and never made it out of surgery.

The artificial heart had continued to function, but the man was on life support because of multiple organ failure, and his family requested that the support be withdrawn, according to a statement from the hospital.

"The patient and his family showed great courage," said Dr. Hillel Laks, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at UCLA's School of Medicine and director of center's Heart, Lung and Heart-Lung Transplant Program. "We are all grieved that we could not extend his life further and return him to a better quality of life. His participation in this clinical trial was of enormous value in proving the effectiveness and reliability of this artificial heart."

The patient underwent the procedure October 17.

He is survived by his wife, seven children and 10 grandchildren, according to the hospital.

The first patient in the world to receive the self-contained artificial heart, Robert Tools, died November 30 at Jewish Hospital In Louisville, Kentucky. He survived 151 days -- nearly five months -- with the device.

The sixth artificial heart recipient died November 27 due to severe bleeding during surgery to implant the device at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston.

According to Abiomed, the heart's manufacturer, the three remaining patients are recovering well.

Tom Christerson, who has had the artificial heart for three months, is able to walk with assistance and breathe on his own, his doctors at Jewish Hospital said.

The other two patients, who are at two different hospitals, also have had "no meaningful clinical problems," after 77 and 37 days, Abiomed said.

All the patients received the artificial heart as part of clinical trials of the device. To be eligible, patients must have no other options for treating their severe heart failure and be unlikely to survive more than 30 days. Four additional implants have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but have not yet been carried out.


• Pioneering heart patient dies
November 30, 2001
• Artificial heart patient dies
November 28, 2001

• Abiomed: Focus on the Heart

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.


Back to the top