Miniature artificial heart only as big as a battery set for trials in Australian patients

Baku, July 7, AZERTAC

An artificial heart the size of a small battery will be implanted in a patient for the first time in Australia.

Paul Jansz was one of the first Australian surgeons to replace a valve in a beating heart — now the St Vincent's specialist will soon implant a new miniaturised artificial heart.

The Darlinghurst hospital is the only one in the country, and one of only a handful in the world, involved in the ¬important trial of the new version of the Ventricular ¬Assist Device (VAD), used to support heart function and blood flow in people who have weakened hearts.

Part of an international trial, the new smaller VAD is rapidly improving technology that has increased survival rates for patients with end-stage heart failure.

Prior to its development, 20 per cent of patients would die waiting for a transplant. "We are already one of the world leaders in the field and we will be performing this ¬operation for the first time in coming weeks or months," Dr Jansz said.

"We are the only hospital in the country to be involved and it is very exciting.

"They are placed in the apex of the heart and take over pumping blood when the heart fails.

"A recent development replacing the valve in a beating heart was also a great achievement, particularly as all the patients are doing well.

"The aortic valve is already being replaced with a catheter while the heart is beating ¬almost routinely now — what had never been done, with any great success, was replacing the mitral valve using a catheter and while the heart is beating."

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