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March 8, 1996
Patient With Artificial Heart is Alert And Talking

Hershey, PA -- A 49-year-old Sunbury, Pa., man is alert and talking with his family two days after being implanted with an artificial heart at Penn State's University Hospital at The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The surgery was performed on Eugene Kime in a three-hour long procedure on March 6.

Kime remains in critical but stable condition. According to William S. Pierce, M.D., "The family and his doctors are delighted with his progress to date." Drs. Pierce and Walter E. Pae, Jr., M.D., cardiothoracic surgeons, headed the implant team that consisted of doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, perfusionists, engineers and other technical staff.

The artificial heart--the Penn State Heart--is a pneumatic, or air-driven, total artificial heart. It is used as a temporary device, or "bridge," until a donor heart is available for transplant.

Kime, in shock from major heart failure, was transferred to University hospital from a community hospital. He was put on multiple drug therapy, and an aortic balloon pump was inserted to support his circulation. Studies showed, however, that his heart had been permanently damaged from coronary artery disease and that an assist device would not be sufficient to meet his needs.

The artificial heart has a separate left and right ventricle, each consisting of a flexible blood sac made of a segmented polyurethane, Biomer, with a housing in which air is introduced and withdrawn in pulses. Tilting disc valves at inlet and outflow ports direct the blood flow.

The Penn State Heart's blood sac is completely seam-free to prevent stagnation of blood and reduce the risk of clotting. The heart is electronically controlled to provide an increase or decrease in blood flow according to patient need or cardiovascular demand.

The system is designed so that the left heart produces adequate output to maintain a normal blood pressure. The right heart's output is also automatically regulated to match that of the left. Both right and left atria 9the natural blood reservoirs located above the heart) receive blood according to the patient's cardiovascular needs without need for manual control. In this way, the Penn State Heart operates on the principal of supply and demand, much like a natural heart.

The device, a bridge to transplantation, has been used only four times before. The patient is now enrolled in the medical Center's transplant program. Currently, six other patients at University hospitals await heart transplants.

**Artificial Heart 2**

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