Saint Thomas Health Becomes First in Tennessee to Offer SynCardia Total Artificial Heart

Nashville, TN — May 30, 2018 — Saint Thomas Health has become the first health system in Tennessee to offer the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH) as part of their cardiac treatment services.

According to Dr. Ashok Babu, surgical director of the artificial heart program, surgeries could start as early as June, providing a new, life-saving treatment option for patients with end-stage heart failure affecting both sides of the heart (biventricular failure).

“A lot of these patients may have a right ventricle that is bad also, and that particular group of patients has no options,” Babu explains. “They can’t get an LVAD. They can’t get a heart transplant yet – this is it for them.”

The SynCardia TAH replaces both lower chambers of the heart (the left and right ventricles) and the four heart valves to restore blood flow and improve organ function. Stable patients who meet discharge criteria are able to enjoy active lives at home with their loved ones while waiting for a donor heart to become available for transplant.

According to Fahad Tahir, CEO of Saint Thomas Midtown and West hospitals, he felt the hospital had a “responsibility” to bring the TAH to Tennessee — a state with one of the highest rates of heart disease in the country.

“There is a subset of our patient population that really has this need,” Tahir says. “It felt incomplete to not provide it, so we are really glad to bring the pieces together.”

Read the full story on the Tennessean.