First artificial heart transplant in Portugal

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It is undoubtedly a historic moment for the National Health Service, but mainly for the patient. This received the first artificial heart implanted in Portugal. Doctors explain, “It’s not a magic trick”.

And so, the first artificial heart implant was performed in Portugal, the procedure lasted about three hours and was not “a magic spell or an adventurous attitude”, said José Fragata, director of cardiothoracic surgery at the Hospital de Santa Marta. Only one day after the operation, the patient is “well”, but still have to overcome some potatoes. The medical team is satisfied but wants more. The goal is for more patients to have access to this device.

“This is not a magic trick, nor an adventurous attitude. It is a project of a year ago, involved trips abroad, and is a project of work in the context of a team that includes cardiac surgery, cardiology and vascular surgery”, said the director of the service, at a press conference, This Tuesday, highlighting the importance of a whole set of professionals who stay out of what is public.

This implant, unprecedented in Portugal, took place on Monday at the Santa Marta Hospital in Lisbon, and was the only solution for the 64-year-old retired patient and former office machine technician. He suffered from severe kidney disease that also prevented him from being transplanted with a donor heart.

“For this man, we had two alternatives to leave him to his luck or implant an artificial heart that is inside and connected by a cable to the outside”, explained the doctor, who opted for the second route.

It was explained that the team of the Hospital de Santa Marta implanted in this patient was a “very differentiated pump, which works by magnetic levitation” and that “sucks the blood from the tip of the left ventricle of the heart and injects it into the aorta”.

This pump is connected via an external drive line that exits the patient’s abdominal wall and connects to a battery pack, José Fragata explained.
In turn, this set of batteries is deposited in a bag that the patient can carry on the shoulder strap. “It’s like a cell phone that lasts 17 hours and I have to call when I get home at night”.

“It looks like it’s going to be a hit, but we still have a few steps to burn”.
The patient is now “well” and “conscious”, but still ventilated. “It looks like it’s going to be a success, but we still have some steps to burn,” he said, adding that if things continue to go well, the patient will be discharged within 15 days. “We want to have this gentleman standing and walking”.

And to do just as well, this 64-year-old retired man, a former office machine technician in Lisbon, can only “do water contact sports. “But he could “play golf, hunt, go to the movies, drive cars”, that is, “make a living”, the doctor said.

“This is a strange body, but it does not reject because it is metal. It’s an implant, “explained the specialist in cardiothoracic surgery, yet they explained that blood passes through the implant and” pulses at 5,000 times a minute, “so” patients must be anti-coagulated so blood does not coagulate in here. They do not live with immunosuppression, but they live with hypocoagulation”.

At the same conference, the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Central, Ana Escoval, said she had already seen the patient who “is excellent” and raised his thumb in a sign that everything was okay, taking advantage to give and reiterate the congratulations To the entire team involved.

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