In February of 2007, Penn became the first center in the Northeastern United States to implant the SynCardia CardioWest™ temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t). HUP is the 8th center in the nation to complete training and begin use of this state-of-the-art technology. The TAH-t is unique in that surgeons remove the patient’s native heart and implant the device in its place. Other devices commonly used are surgically attached to the native heart and use it as a conduit for pumping blood. The TAH-t is designed to be used for patients in bi-ventricular heart failure who are waiting for a heart transplant.
Approximately 700 devices have been implanted world wide, and more than 250 of the implants were done in the United States. While supported on the device, patients are able to be active and mobile and participate in regular physical therapy. Patients are currently required to stay in the hospital while on the TAH-t, but later this year we will begin a trial using a new portable driver.