The second total artificial heart implanted
“We are proud of our team of cardiac surgeons, which is the only certified team for performing this type of interventions in the Republic of Macedonia.
Experts from abroad communicate their recognitions for performing this extremely complex surgery. Their recognitions refer to overall capacity of the hospital, the readiness and knowledge of our team, led by Prof. Dr. Nikolic, to enter into a risky operation to save the life of the young patient. But above all, they are confirmation for achieving the goal we set before us eight years ago: we have become the best cardiac surgical center in Macedonia and one of the best in Europe!”, said Dr. Jana Marin, hospital director and member the Board of Directors of “Acibadem Sistina”.
The second total artificial heart was implanted at “Acibadem Sistina” Hospital in Skopje. Considering the extremely serious and rare surgery and taking into account the patient’s previous condition, it presents another pioneering cardiac surgery, ranking the Hospital and Macedonian healthcare in general among the five leading centres of cardiac surgery in Europe. It is the second cardiac surgery for implantation of a total artificial heart in just under four months, after the first one performed in July this year.
The patient, a 28-year-old girl from Skopje, was taken to the Hospital in a life threatening condition and after the surgery on Thursday evening she is awake, self-breathing and feels good for now.
The complex intervention lasted for about eight hours and it was completely performed by the team of “Acibadem Sistina”, led by the head of the Department of Cardiac Surgery, Prof. Dr. Aleksandar Nikolic. Implanting an artificial heart is the most serious intervention in cardiac surgery. “Acibadem Sistina” Hospital once again stood side by side with the very leading global healthcare institutions that perform operations of mechanical cardiac support. At the same time, it is a huge step forward for the Macedonian cardiac surgery, which ranks our country among the few countries in the world where such operations are performed.
“The patient was taken to “Acibadem Sistina” from the Clinical Center in Skopje under the diagnosis of cardiac insufficiency of the left and the right heart, in a clinical death for two hours, during which she was connected to in vitro blood flow. We were called due to our extensive experience in this field. I suggested that the patient should be connected to ECMO machine that replaces functioning of the heart and the lungs and to transfer her to “Acibadem Sistina”. But before performing the very implantation of a total artificial heart, the patient had to undergo another surgery of the abdomen. Due to the long resuscitation, the patient experienced a haemorrhage in the abdomen, which had to be sanitized before the implantation of an artificial heart. The surgery went very well and we hope for complete recovery. The patient stays at the Cardiac Surgical Intensive Care Unit and is under constant monitoring by our team. There is an improvement in the condition, she is disconnected from the ECMO machine and now is self-breathing. As a result of the successful surgery performance and the patient’s age, we hope that in about a month she will be able to stand up again and continue with her daily activities”, says Prof. Dr. Nikolic, a pioneer of cardiac surgery in the region and much broader.
By implanting an artificial heart, the patient get six to eight years of life, after which a transplantation would be necessary, and considering the fast advances in the medicine, we hope to find other more appropriate solution for her even in shorter period of time, believe sources of the Hospital.
Dr. Latif Arusoglu, cardiovascular surgeon and world renowned expert in the treatment of cardiac insufficiency from the Federal Republic of Germany, who oversaw the surgery as an external expert due to its specificity, says it is an extremely rare and serious intervention that very few centers in Europe would agree to accept the patient and perform the surgery. He welcomes the courage by the entire medical team of “Acibadem Sistina” to accept this case and enter into such a risky operation in order to save a young life. According to him, by its successful performing, “Acibadem Sistina” has become one of only five leading centers for cardiac surgery in Europe where such intervention is performed.
“By implantation of the second artificial heart in a short period Acibadem Sistina continues to prove that it is a leader in introducing new interventions, technologies and practices. We made a step forward with this serious surgery. We are proud of our team of cardiac surgeons, which is the only certified team for performing this type of interventions in the Republic of Macedonia. Experts from abroad communicate their recognitions for performing this extremely complex surgery. Their recognitions refer to overall capacity of the hospital, the readiness and knowledge of our team, led by Prof. Dr. Nikolic, to enter into a risky operation to save the life of the young patient. But above all, they are confirmation for achieving the goal we set before us eight years ago: we have become the best cardiac surgical center in Macedonia and one of the best in Europe!”, said Dr. Jana Marin, hospital director and member the Board of Directors of “Acibadem Sistina”.
About 1.800 surgeries for implantation of a total artificial heart have been performed globally, and Macedonia is on the list of 25 countries in the world where this complex cardiac surgery is practiced, in addition to countries such as USA, Canada, France, Germany, Turkey, Great Britain, Italy …”.
The artificial heart is produced by the world renowned company from the United States – “SynCardia”, the only clinically proven and approved manufacturer of a total artificial heart in the world. The artificial heart is of the same size as the natural one. It is powered by a battery of six kilograms which the patient will carry in a special backpack after leaving the hospital. The implantation of an artificial heart is a trend in world cardiac surgery, given the fact that obtaining a donor heart, especially in Europe, is all the more difficult.