/PRNewswire/ -- SynCardia Systems, Inc., manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE (Europe) approved Total Artificial Heart, announced today that Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois, has discharged its first patient to receive the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart. Leroy Haynes, 64, left the hospital using the Freedom® portable driver on Sept. 13, to resume life at home with his wife Pat while he waits for a matching donor heart.
"I can't thank you enough," Haynes told his doctors and nurses during a news conference with his wife by his side. "We're just simple people. We've worked all of our lives and it seems saying thank you is not good enough… There's not a person that didn't smile, give me encouragement, tell me I'm going home, and now that day has come."
Haynes, a letter carrier who retired from the post office in 2007, had been suffering from cardiomyopathy, a disease that weakens and enlarges the heart muscle. In 2008, he received a HeartMate II left ventricular assist device (LVAD). An LVAD is a continuous-flow, mechanical pump that is implanted adjacent to the heart to help the left ventricle pump blood. However, this April, Haynes was admitted to the hospital after his condition began to rapidly deteriorate.
Over several weeks, he experienced persistent ventricular tachycardia (a fast heart rhythm that starts in the lower part of the heart), which caused continuous shocks from his implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). To save his life, on May 8, doctors removed Haynes' failing heart and LVAD, and implanted their first SynCardia Total Artificial Heart to bridge him to a donor heart transplant.
"Yes our life is going to change," said his wife Pat, who is a home health care nurse. "It's a new way of living, but we're happy we have more time together."
Before heading home, the couple, who recently celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary in the hospital, was presented with a gift certificate to a local restaurant so they could enjoy a proper celebration.
Weighing 13.5 pounds, the Freedom portable driver is the world's first wearable power supply for the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart. The Freedom driver is CE approved for use in Europe and undergoing an FDA-approved Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) clinical study in the U.S.