Duke University Health is the first hospital system in North America to perform artificial heart surgery.
The new-generation device was implanted into a 39-year-old man by a surgical team led by Dr. Jacob Schroder and Dr. Carmelo Milano on Wednesday. A process that seems pretty routine, but it was a difficult decision considering no procedure like this has been done before.
Matthew Moore from Shallotte, North Carolina was referred to Duke with heart failure earlier this year, according to WNCN. He thought he would just have undergone a heart bypass surgery, but Schroder and Milano recommended an artificial option because a traditional heart transplant became too dangerous.
The artificial heart was developed by CARMAT and has been studied in Europe, where it is approved for use. Last year, the company received FDA approval to begin studies in the U.S. to potentially enroll 10 patients with end-stage biventricular heart failure. The study will evaluate whether the artificial heart is a viable option as a life-saving step before transplant, according to Duke. The CARMAT heart is similar to a prosthetic and uses an external power supply.
Duke was one of the transplant centers in the U.S. selected to join the CARMAT study, which required the medical team to receive specialized training to prepare for implant surgery.
Manesh Patel, M.D., chief of the Division of Cardiology at Duke, said the heart care program at Duke has fostered a culture of innovation over decades, aimed at improving care for patients.
“Our goal is to both deliver the best health care and to play a role in discovering it,” Patel said. “Innovation is essential for this. Patients locally and nationally are seen by our heart transplant team for care they may not get elsewhere. The key is the culture of innovation and the teamwork between our cardiac surgeons, heart failure cardiologists, nurses and all the heart center staff that care for our patients.”
“The Duke Heart Transplant Program is globally recognized not only for its robust clinical volume, but more importantly, providing outstanding quality and innovative patient care at the highest level possible,” said Edward P. Chen, M.D., chief of the Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery.
“The successful implant of the CARMAT artificial heart represents the latest in a long list of accomplishments by the Duke heart transplant team aimed at further expanding the treatment options available for patients with end-stage cardiac disease.”
Moore will continue to recover from the one-of-a-kind surgery and provide data for the likelihood of future artificial transplants.