SynCardia Systems, Inc. (www.syncardia.com), the privately-held manufacturer of the world’s first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE (Europe) approved Total Artificial Heart, announced today that Andrew Weaver, a 31-year-old husband and father of one who arrived at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City in grave condition, has been successfully bridged to a heart transplant with the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart and discharged home.
“We had several concerns when Andrew first came to us,” said Dr. Bruce Reid, surgical director of the Intermountain Medical Center Artificial Heart Program. “He had extensive thrombus in the left ventricle and profound biventricular failure. To use an LVAD would’ve been a very dangerous situation fraught with a high risk of stroke. It was for that reason we felt the best course of action was to replace his heart with the Total Artificial Heart."
Mr. Weaver was born with a congenitally malformed aortic valve, and developed an aneurysm of the ascending aorta. However, these abnormalities were unknown until last February. Over time, his chest pains got increasingly worse. In October, he underwent surgery at a local hospital to have his aorta and aortic valve replaced, but was unable to be weaned from cardiopulmonary bypass. When his heart wouldn’t start beating again, he was transferred to Intermountain Medical Center.
“He arrived on ECMO [a machine that takes over the function of the heart and lungs] with an open chest in critical condition,” said Dr. Reid. “We kept him on ECMO for a few days hoping that he’d have some cardiac recovery, but he did not. We didn’t feel we could bridge him with anything less than a Total Artificial Heart.”
Mr. Weaver was implanted with the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart on Oct. 18, 2012. Over the next several months, hospital staff helped him regain his strength and improve his health so he could be listed for a heart transplant. On Jan. 7, he was added to the waiting list, and just five days later, he received his heart transplant. On Jan. 24, Mr. Weaver was discharged from the hospital with his new donor heart. He is currently enjoying life at home with his wife of three years Heather and their 17-month-old daughter Haley and has returned to his job as a supply chain specialist.
“Without the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart, my husband would not have lived, Haley would have grown up without her dad and I would have lost my best friend,” said Heather. “Having him home is the best thing in the world!”