St. Thomas West To Offer Artificial Heart Transplants

Posted at 10:30 PM, Jun 24, 2018

Saint Thomas West Hospital will become the first hospital in the state of Tennessee to perform total artificial heart transplants.

The Nashville hospital received the FDA approved Total Artificial Heart devices which will act like a bridged transplant for qualified recipients waiting for a total human heart transplant.

Like a human heart, blood and air can flow through a right and left ventricle, and there are four holes to represent the four valves in a heart.

Doctors said Tennessee has a large population of people suffering from heart failure.

"There are not enough hearts to go around. Sometimes people are too ill to get a heart transplant, and then we have other options," said Dr. Ashok Babu, a cardiothoracic surgeon.

Recipients can live with this device for up to two years while waiting for a human heart transplant.

A patient 70 or younger can receive the device if they qualify.

"This will fill that void where we can put it in, the machine in, let them go home ideally in recovery, and then come back when a heart is available," Dr. Babu said.

The hope is to perform five to ten total artificial heart transplants a year, and people with them can live a normal life without skipping a beat.

Saint Thomas West hospital performs 25 heart transplants a year.