Children’s Patient is a Pioneer with Artificial Heart

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. 

Editor’s note: The Cincinnati Enquirer allows users to view 20 articles per month without a subscription. If the link does not work, you may already be over the 20 article threshold.

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Cincinnati Children’s News Team

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The members of the news team at Cincinnati Children's are responsible for telling the stories of the medical center. Stories of the families we serve, research and clinical care, safe and healthy practices and happenings at the hospital. If it has to do with Cincinnati Children's, Danielle, Nick, Jim, Kate, Rachel, Terry and Shannon will keep you informed.

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