By Chris King •
Published: 06 Aug 2022 • 1:49
Malaga hospital staff with the heart transplant patient.
As reported in a statement from the Ministry of Health on Friday, August 5, the Clinical Hospital of Malaga has successfully implanted a definitive artificial heart in a 67-year-old man. The patient is currently in rehabilitation after his operation that was performed on June 22.
This is the first operation of its kind in Malaga province. The device was implanted in a patient who was suffering from advanced heart failure. As a result, he had a low life expectancy due to cardiomyopathy of genetic origin. He had been closely monitored by the Heart Failure section of the Hospital Virgen de la Victoria for the last 12 years.
The device consists of an intracorporeal mechanical circulatory assistance pump that allows patients with severe heart failure to increase their survival. It helps improve their functional capacity to carry out their daily activities.
After undergoing surgery on June 22, the patient has been completing his rehabilitation process with the assistance of the multidisciplinary team that cares for him. It consists of specialists in Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery, Anesthesiology services, Resuscitation, Physical Medicine, and Rehabilitation.
Juan Jose Gomez Doblas, the head of the Cardiology department at the Virgen de la Victoria University Hospital, explained that: “technically, it is about implanting a centrifugal pump that connects the heart with the aorta artery and that is placed inside the thorax”.
He continued: “The device works by means of batteries that supply the necessary energy to extract the blood from the left ventricle and eject it into the ascending aorta, from where it is distributed throughout the body”.
Gemma Lopez Espin, the facility’s specialist in Cardiac Surgery, added that: “This advanced technology system is used in cases of severe heart failure, as definitive therapy in selected cases which are not candidates for heart transplantation by advanced age or associated comorbidity, allowing the patient to increase their survival and improve their functional capacity”.
The Cardiac Surgery department of the Virgen de la Victoria University Hospital already has extensive experience in the implantation of similar devices.
These have always been of short duration, in patients with terminal heart failure, as a bridge to transplantation cardiac, or transition to recovery; especially in cases of refractory cardiogenic shock after cardiac surgery, or after processes that acutely and especially severely damage the heart, as in some myocarditis.
Ainhoa Robles, the specialist in Cardiology explained that: “The novelty of this case is that it is not a temporary therapy, but rather a definitive treatment. It allows the patient great autonomy and improvement of his clinical situation, helping him to carry out activities of daily life that he had had to give up due to his heart disease”.
Robles added that: “Although the technique is already performed in centres that have a heart transplant program, the Virgen de la Victoria University Hospital is the first to perform it in our province”.
The decision to implant the device was agreed upon with the patient, and coordinated by the Anesthesiology, Cardiac Surgery, and Cardiology Services. It received prior authorisation from the hospital management and the central services of the Andalucian Health Service (SAS), exceptionally, after assessing the risks and benefits for the patient.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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