A young woman has become the first Cincinnati Children’s patient to receive a total artificial heart. When Tiernee Gonzalez received the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart, it was only the fifth time a pediatric hospital implanted the device.
Dr. David Morales, chief of cardiovascular surgery at The Heart Institute, removed the donor heart that Tiernee received in a 2006 transplant and replaced it with the artificial heart last November, when she was 19.
“What needs to be appreciated is that she and her family are really pioneers. She opens the door for so many more people,” said Dr. Morales.
The total artificial heart is approved for use as a “bridge to transplant” that keeps patients alive for months – even a year or longer – until a human heart is available.
Tiernee, now age 20, is doing well with the device, and is expected to go home within a few weeks. Once she’s feeling better, discussions can begin about a transplant.
Read Tiernee’s story in The Cincinnati Enquirier.
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