The Implantable Artificial Heart Project
Press Conferences
News Releases
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Images and Diagrams
The AbioCor Replacement Heart
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Images and Diagrams
The Researchers
Laman A. Gray, Jr., M.D.
Robert D. Dowling, M.D.

News Releases

July 17, 2001
Linda McGinity Jackson,
Kathy Keadle,


(LOUISVILLE) - During a press conference on Monday, July 16, physicians who successfully implanted the world's first AbioCor Implantable Replacement Heart said the patient, a mid-to-late 50-year-old male, asked them to express his very sincere appreciation for all the prayers and support he and his family have received from around the world.

The Jewish Hospital clinical team led by University of Louisville surgeons Laman A. Gray, Jr., M.D., and Robert D. Dowling, M.D., also said the patient is exceeding their expectations at this point. The seven-hour surgery, performed July 2 with a team of 14 nurses, perfusionists, anesthesiologists and other support staff, was the first of its kind in the world.

Drs. Gray and Dowling reiterated that the procedure went extremely well and the patient is doing better than either physician ever anticipated considering his condition when he arrived at Jewish Hospital prior to the implant.

"The patient is doing well considering his illnesses prior to implant," said Gray. "The additional procedures that we have reported since the operation are anticipated in such cases."

The physicians also emphasized that the patient and his family still wish to remain anonymous. "The entire team is concerned first and foremost for the clinical and personal well-being of the patient and his family," said Dowling. "All of the actions that we have taken have been done with the knowledge, agreement and consent of the patient and family."

"We are releasing information concerning the patient's status according to previously announced policies," said Gray. "We will keep everyone apprised of events in a timeframe that we feel is appropriate.

"Of course, we are gathering and analyzing data for publication in scientific journals and for scientific presentation at the earliest possible time," Gray added. "I believe this is the most appropriate forum for public debate and discussion on new medical procedures."

The experimental procedure is the result of 20-plus years of product research and development by Danvers, Mass.-based ABIOMED, INC., and a three-year partnership with the University of Louisville and Jewish Hospital, where pre-clinical in-vivo device research was performed.
The Louisville-based research accomplished two major goals in the completion of the pre-clinical stage of the project. First, three years of successful pre-clinical implants of the AbioCor offered sufficient evidence to the Food and Drug Administration that the device was biocompatible and was capable of sustaining life. Second, the surgical team from Jewish Hospital and the University of Louisville developed its procedural protocols - ranging from pre-surgical patient care to post-surgery recovery and rehabilitation.

Jewish Hospital is among the top ten cardiac centers in the United States and, along with the University of Louisville, is dedicated to excellence, research and education. University of Louisville surgeons at Jewish Hospital have performed many heart care "firsts," including Kentucky's first heart transplant, the world's first heart transplant following the use of a Thoratec bi-ventricular assist device, the world's first endoscopic saphenous vein harvest and the first ventricular remodeling in the region.
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©2001 Jewish Hospital, University of Louisville Health Sciences Center, ABIOMED, Inc.
Jewish Hospital University of Louisville Health Sciences Center