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SynCardia Systems, Inc.

Press Release:

Slovenia's 1st Total Artificial Heart Patient
Discharged from UMC Ljubljana Using
the Freedom® Portable Driver

SynCardia Total Artificial Heart was the "Perfect Solution" for Near-Death Patient with Ventricular Septal Defect

 

Heart surgeon Dr. Ivan Knezevic is pictured with Slovenia's first Total Artificial Heart patient Nikola Gašpic. On Dec. 29, 2011, Mr. Gašpic was discharged from UMC Ljubljana to wait for a matching donor heart at home wearing the Freedom® portable driver that powers his Total Artificial Heart in the Backpack.

TUCSON, Ariz. – Jan. 19, 2012 – SynCardia Systems, Inc., manufacturer of the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart, announced today that on Dec. 29, 2011, University Medical Center (UMC) Ljubljana discharged Slovenia's first Total Artificial Heart patient, 61-year-old Nikola Gašpic, to wait for a matching donor heart at home using the Freedom® portable driver.

"The Total Artificial Heart was the perfect solution to bridge this patient to a transplant because he had a ventricular septal defect (VSD). For VSD, there are no other effective treatments," said Dr. Ivan Knezevic, Director of the Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program in the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at UMC Ljubljana.

Previously healthy, Mr. Gašpic suffered a heart attack that created a hole in his septum (VSD), which is the wall that separates the left and right ventricles of the heart. He was placed on inotropes and implanted with an intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP), but he continued to deteriorate. To save his life, on Oct. 19, 2011, doctors implanted the Total Artificial Heart as the only suitable treatment option.  

The implant surgery was performed by Dr. Knezevic and proctored by experienced Total Artificial Heart surgeon Dr. Latif Arusoglu. It was the first implantation of SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart in southeastern Europe.

UMC Ljubljana is Slovenia's biggest hospital and its only transplant center. Each year, UMC Ljubljana performs 18-19 heart transplants and approximately 1,000 open heart surgeries. It is the first and only SynCardia Certified Center in Slovenia.

Weighing approximately 6 kg, the Freedom portable driver is the world's first wearable power supply for the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart. The Freedom driver is CE approved for use in Europe and undergoing an FDA-approved Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) clinical study in the U.S.

SynCardia recognizes and thanks Katarina Tepšic Štupica, PhD and Medica d.o.o., the Slovenian distributor for the Total Artificial Heart, for their commitment and on-going support of UMC Ljubljana.

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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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