Significant Events at
Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
- 1985 The Penn State Heart, an air-driven total artificial heart, is first implanted in
a patient, who dies 27 days later.
- 1986 The Penn State Heart is implanted in its second patient, who remains on the
device until his death 13 months later.
- 1988 The National Institutes of Health awards the Medical Center a $5.7 million
contract for research to develop an electrical, artificial heart.
- 1991 Holly the calf shatters the record for the longest living calf on any artificial
heart. She survives for one year and 23 days.
- 1993 The Medical Center is one of only three institutions awarded a three-year,
$5.4 million contract from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to
continue its work in developing a permanently implantable electric heart.
- 1996 Hershey Medical Center receives a $7.7 million federal contract awarded for
research of the electromechanical heart.
- 1998 A Biomedical Engineering Institute will be established at Hershey Medical
Center thanks to a grant of nearly $1 million from the Whitaker Foundation.
The institute's purpose is to add a new educational component to the
bioengineering program at Penn State.
- A newly FDA-approved heart assist device, the Vented Electric Left
Ventricular Assist Device, is implanted for the first time in the country in a
patient at Hershey Medical Center. The device will allow seriously ill heart
patients to survive and wait at home for a heart transplant. The surgical
team is led by Benjamin Sun, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at Penn
State's College of Medicine and assistant director of heart transplantation at
Hershey Medical Center.
- 1999 As part of a multi-center clinical trial, a patient on a left ventricular assist
device (LVAD) is placed on a portable driver-control unit that will power the
LVAD. This is the first clinical use of the device in the United States. The
device will greatly improve the patient's mobility and allow her to leave the
hospital while awaiting a heart transplant, according to Walter Pae, Jr., M.D.,
professor of surgery at the College of Medicine and director of cardiac
transplantation at Hershey Medical Center.
- Physicians begin implanting a new heart-assist device in patients with end-stage heart failure who are not candidates for transplantation. The new
device is totally implantable and permanent--not a bridge to transplantation
or temporary heart helper. The lead investigator is Walter E. Pae, Jr.,
professor of surgery. The device is called the Arrow LionheartTM and was
developed at the College of Medicine in conjunction with Arrow
International, Inc., of Reading, Pa.