Similar to a heart transplant, the total artificial heart replaces both failing heart ventricles and the four valves. The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is the only system that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a bridge to transplant for people with end-stage biventricular heart failure, and Montefiore is one of only two programs in the New York metropolitan region certified to implant this lifesaving device.
"The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is a tremendous medical advance, and we are proud to add it to our already extensive repertoire of treatment options," says Robert E. Michler, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief, Professor and Chairman, Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery and Department of Surgery, and Co- Director, Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care.
"With SynCardia we can offer patients an alternative that extends their lives and improves the quality of their extended lives," says Daniel Goldstein, MD, Director, Mechanical Assistance Program; Co-Director, Center for Advanced Cardiac Therapy at Montefiore; and Associate Professor, Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, at Einstein.
The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is ideal for patients who have damage on both sides of the heart and are awaiting a heart transplant. For these patients, a standard ventricular assist device is not sufficient. The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart provides immediate, normal blood flow through both ventricles, and the high volume of good blood flow can actually help speed the recovery of vital organs, making the patient a better transplant candidate.
According to the New York Organ Donor Network, nationally there are about 3,100 patients waiting for a donor heart; approximately 200 of them are in New York State. Unlike a donor heart, the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is immediately available for transplant-eligible patients at medical centers that are SynCardia certified. Another benefit of the Total Artificial Heart is its portable, battery-powered driver, the Freedom®, which makes it possible for patients to leave the hospital and resume an active life while awaiting a donor heart. This is in stark contrast to previous devices that required patients to be connected to a large console-sized machine at the hospital, limiting their mobility and quality of life.