Fifth CardioWest patient receives heart

By Cara Miller

Arizona Daily Wildcat

After living on an artificial heart for 22 days, the fifth UMC recipient of a CardioWest heart received a human heart yesterday.

The operation came less than a week after the fourth CardioWest recipient, a 44-year-old Phoenix resident, received his human heart.

The CardioWest total artificial heart kept the 45-year-old Phoenix man alive until a human heart donor could be found. He was the 15th artificial heart patient at the University Medical Center.

The identity of the patient is being withheld at the request of the family.

The operation was led by Francisco Arabia, a UMC cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon.

"Everything went very well and there were no problems," he said. "He is still connected to some of the breathing machines, but he is following commands."

Six CardioWest devices have been implanted nationwide including an emergency implant at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego. The other five have been performed at University Medical Center.

UMC is one of five centers that have the technology to use the CardioWest heart, but is the only one that has actually performed the surgery.

Three previous recipients of the CardioWest device Sharoyn Loughran of Scottsdale, Gaylord Booth of Phoenix, and Wallace Kay Jr. of Moapa, Nev. all are in good health and living at home.

The CardioWest heart and the care included generally costs $10,000, said UMC spokeswoman Judy Elam.

She said it may take a little longer for a patient's body to get accustomed to a human heart.

"The artificial heart is already regulated to beat at the speed relative to your size and weight," she said. "Sometimes it takes a little longer for the human heart to regulate."

The 44-year-old man who received his human heart Oct. 16 is doing well and will hopefully be able to go home this week, Arabia said.

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