New articifial heart for Greek man

A team of U.S. doctors has implanted a new kind of artificial heart pump in a patient in Greece that is smaller, longer-lasting and expected to cause fewer clotting problems than similar devices, a hospital said. The device, developed in Utah and made by WorldHeart Corp., based in Oakland , California , has its only moving part suspended in an electromagnetic field so that it does not touch any other part, the hospital team said Thursday.

It is smaller than other pumps, allowing it to be used in smaller adults and adolescents, and a tiny version is being developed for use in infants and children, according to LDS Hospital . WorldHeart anticipated getting U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to use the device in a clinical study in the United States early next year, but meanwhile it will be tested in Europe . The team returned from Greece this week after performing the March 8 operation.

"It's a pet peeve to have to take technology and give first access to patients out of the United States, but that's the nature of our regulatory process," Dr. James Long, director of the artificial heart program at LDS Hospital said.

"Europeans are more aggressive ... and understand risk," he said. "Our reason for being there is to learn how we can refine it." Long said the patient had a long history of congestive heart failure that likely would have killed him, but is now doing well.The patient needs the assistance while his heart gets strong enough to work without it, Long said. The device is not designed to be temporary for all patients, reports the AP.


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