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SynCardia Systems, Inc.

Press Release:

Texas Children's Hospital Implants Its 1st SynCardia Total Artificial Heart to Save 17-Year-Old Suffering from Biventricular Heart Failure

Houston Teen is 1 of Only 3 Congenital Heart Patients in the U.S. Under 18 to Receive World's Only Approved Total Artificial Heart as a Bridge to Transplant

Jordan Merecka is the first patient at Texas Children's Hospital and the only patient in a children’s hospital to receive SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart. He celebrated his 18th birthday just one week after his surgery on May 29, 2011 Jordan Merecka is the first patient at Texas Children's Hospital and the only patient in a children’s hospital to receive SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart. He celebrated his 18th birthday just one week after his surgery on May 29, 2011 TUCSON, Ariz. – July 7, 2011 – SynCardia Systems, Inc. announced today that Texas Children's Hospital in Houston performed its first implant of the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart on May 22, to save the life of 17-year-old Jordan Merecka. Texas Children's is the first pediatric hospital in the world to implant SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart.

"The patient's overall condition had deteriorated rapidly," said Dr. David L.S. Morales, pediatric cardiovascular surgeon at Texas Children's Heart Center, who performed the surgery. "Jordan was waiting for a donor heart, but both ventricles and two of his valves were failing, and we were running out of time. The Total Artificial Heart, which was immediately available when this patient needed it most, could take care of all of these problems with one operation."

Jordan, who was born with multiple congenital heart defects and awaiting a transplant, progressed to end-stage biventricular failure. Jordan is only the third congenital heart patient under the age of 18 in the U.S. and the 6th in the world to be implanted with the Total Artificial Heart.  

"He will still need a donor heart, but we have time now to wait for the best match," said Dr. Jeffrey Dreyer, medical director of cardiac transplantation at Texas Children's Hospital. "The Total Artificial Heart will improve his overall health and allow him to enjoy increased activity during the wait for a donor heart."'

Prior to being hospitalized, Jordan had been looking forward to his prom (May 27), his 18th birthday (May 29) and his graduation (June 5). Jordan missed his prom while in the hospital, but thanks to his medical team and SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart, he celebrated his 18th birthday just a week after his surgery. Jordan was also able to watch his graduation ceremony online. Jordan's class gave him a standing ovation when his 16-year-old sister accepted his diploma on his behalf.

Jordan was born with multiple congenital heart defects, including his heart on the wrong side of his chest (dextrocardia) and his heart vessels backwards (corrected transposition of the great arteries - TGA). Growing up, he underwent two open chest surgeries, several surgical revisions and implantation of a defibrillator. By September 2010, Jordan's heart had begun to fail, and he was placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant.

In April 2011, Jordan was admitted to Texas Children's Hospital with heart failure symptoms and kidney insufficiency. During the following weeks, he was in and out of the cardiovascular intensive care unit. Then, on the weekend of May 21, all of his organs began to fail and he was placed on a ventilator. To save Jordan's life, on May 22, doctors implanted SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart.

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About SynCardia Systems, LLC
SynCardia Systems, LLC in Tucson, Ariz., is the privately-held manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart. For people suffering from end-stage heart failure affecting both sides of the heart (biventricular failure), the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart is used as a bridge to transplant, helping them survive until a matching donor heart becomes available. SynCardia also manufactures the Freedom® portable driver, which powers the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart and allows clinically stable patients to be discharged from the hospital to enjoy life at home while they wait for a heart transplant.

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SynCardia Contact:
Janelle Drumwright, jdrumwright@syncardia.com, (520) 547-7463

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