Man receives experimental heart

By Joseph Altman Jr.

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Surgeons at University Medical Center performed the sixth implant of a CardioWest total artificial heart Feb. 28.

Forty-three-year-old Alex Carnio of Scottsdale received the heart in the procedure led by Dr. Francisco Arabia, a UMC cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon.

Carnio was suffering from ischemic heart disease, a reduction in the flow of blood through the coronary arteries. He underwent an unsuccessful bypass operation the week prior to the implant, Arabia said.

He said Carnio is now recovering in the intensive care unit at UMC, and is expected to receive a human heart transplant soon.

"We're giving him time to recover," Arabia said. "Once he's fully recovered and stable, we'll finish his evaluation and place him on the list (for a human heart)."

The UMC transplant team has now performed 16 artificial heart implants since 1985. Preceding the use of the CardioWest heart were the Jarvik, Symbion and Phoenix Heart models.

The previous five patients who have received CardioWest hearts at UMC were released and are doing well, according to a statement from UMC.

The Food and Drug Administration approved a study of the CardioWest total artificial heart at UMC in 1992. Five other medical centers in the United States are also participating in the study.

Three CardioWest hearts have been implanted in centers other than UMC.

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