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Wuhan University’s Zhongnan Hospital successfully implants China’s first total magnetic levitation artificial heart with independent intellectual property rights
Author:Zhongnan Hospital of WHU  Date:2022-10-24  Clicks:

On September 28, Professor Liu Jinping, director of the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery of Zhongnan Hospital of WHU, and his team successfully implanted a ventricular assistive device for a patient with dilated cardiomyopathy and heart failure. This is the first successful case of implantation completed in Hubei Province following the launch of the first total magnetic levitation artificial heart with independent intellectual property rights  in China.

With about 13.7 million heart failure patients in China, and a scarcity of heart donors, only 600 patients are matched for heart transplants each year. As a result, many late-stage patients pass away with regret because they cannot wait for a heart transplant. But this successful implantation and this beating ‘Chinese heart’ bring hope to many heart failure patients.

Mr. Su, who had frequent shortness of breath and dyspnea , is one of the patients who eagerly waited for a heart transplant. Weighing 130 kg and lacking exercise,  Mr. Su was diagnosed with severe dilated cardiomyopathy when he sought local medical treatment in Anhui a year ago. After a long period on medication, he still had recurrent heart failure. In recent months, Mr. Su's chest distress and shortness of breath were aggravated, and when a sudden cardiac discomfort occurred during a walk, he fainted and fell. After being re-admitted to hospital, Mr. Su was told that his heart failure had entered the terminal stage and he required heart transplantation. After many inquiries, Mr. Su went to Zhongnan Hospital of WHU, hoping to have a heart transplant.

Multidisciplinary experts team of the hospital conducting discussions

To save the patient's young life, the hospital's multidisciplinary team of experts organized several consultations and discussions. However, Mr. Su’s weight of 130 kg made it difficult for him to match with a heart donor. Considering that Mr. Su was very young and heart donors were scarce, the experts suggested another more suitable treatment - an extracorporeal artificial heart to assist the heart in its pumping function and maintain blood circulation in the body. Hope rose in Mr. Su’s chest, and he readily agreed.

With the patient’s support and trust, the ‘Heart Care Plan’ was officially launched. The departments of cardiovascular surgery, cardiovascular medicine, cardiac ultrasound, anesthesiology and the operating room set up the perioperative group, monitoring group, anesthesia group, extracorporeal circulation group and surgery group with a thorough surgical plan and detailed rehabilitation plan and conducted rehearsals in advance to ensure the smooth implementation of the surgery and patient safety to the greatest extent possible.

Experts performing the operation

At 10:00 a.m. on September 28, the surgery officially began. Experts from departments of cardiovascular diseases worked closely together, performing meticulous operations such as pump body positioning, apex ring fixation and apical perforation. Soon, the artificial heart with a diameter of only 47 mm and a weight of 186 grams was implanted into the patient.

Experts were monitoring the physical data of the patient

Two hours later, the artificial heart started pumping blood like a motor to assist the heart in its work. "The heart is beating again, the artificial heart is functioning normally, the blood pressure is normal, and the urine volume is normal!" On the monitor screen, a series of numbers indicated that the patient's vital signs were stable, and the operation was successful. At present, Mr. Su's vital signs are stable, and he will undergo the next step of rehabilitation.

The inlet of the artificial heart blood pump is facing the mitral valve, so that the blood in the ventricular cavity can enter the blood pump smoothly

The ventricular assistive device

Prof. Jinping Liu explained that artificial heart implantation is one of the most difficult heart surgeries today. Implanting an artificial heart enables overtreatment pending heart transplantation, short-term support pending recovery of heart function and support patients' long-term survival. An artificial heart ignites new hope for 13.7 million heart failure patients at the end-stage of the disease.

Rewritten by Xie Yifei

Edited by Fu Wantong, Chen Jiaqi, Cheng Shiwen, Xi Bingqing, Sylvia


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