Total Artificial Heart Both a Bridge to Transplant and a Path to Life for Local Woman - Cincinnati Children's Blog

Total Artificial Heart Both a Bridge to Transplant and a Path to Life for Local Woman

The backpack that Tiernee Gonzalez wears allows her to live what she describes as “a pretty normal life”, thanks to a pioneering medical device she received at Cincinnati Children’s.

Tiernee, who suffers from restrictive cardiomyopathy, is the first woman to have a total artificial heart implanted at a pediatric hospital. The device inside the backpack powers her artificial heart. The 20-year-old has been battling heart issues since chemotherapy weakened her heart when she developed cancer as a child.

The artificial heart is considered a bridge to heart transplant surgery.

“To wait for a year in the hospital for transplant you can only imagine you get a little cabin fever. From a psychological, physical, even a nutritional standpoint, the ability to be at home and be with your friends and family is a huge advantage as you wait for a transplant,” explained Dr. David Morales, chief of cardiovascular surgery at Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute.

Watch Tiernee’s full story from WCPO.

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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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