SOURCE: SynCardia Systems, Inc.

SynCardia Systems, Inc.

July 07, 2011 07:55 ET

Texas Children's Hospital Implants Its 1st SynCardia Total Artificial Heart to Save 17-Year-Old Suffering From Biventricular Heart Failure

Houston Teen Is 1 of Only 3 Congenital Heart Patients in the U.S. Under 18 to Receive World's Only Approved Total Artificial Heart as a Bridge to Transplant

TUCSON, AZ--(Marketwire - Jul 7, 2011) - SynCardia Systems, Inc. ( announced today that Texas Children's Hospital in Houston performed its first implant of the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart on May 22, to save the life of 17-year-old Jordan Merecka. Texas Children's is the first pediatric hospital in the world to implant SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart.

"The patient's overall condition had deteriorated rapidly," said Dr. David L.S. Morales, pediatric cardiovascular surgeon at Texas Children's Heart Center, who performed the surgery. "Jordan was waiting for a donor heart, but both ventricles and two of his valves were failing, and we were running out of time. The Total Artificial Heart, which was immediately available when this patient needed it most, could take care of all of these problems with one operation."

Jordan, who was born with multiple congenital heart defects and awaiting a transplant, progressed to end-stage biventricular failure. Jordan is only the third congenital heart patient under the age of 18 in the U.S. and the 6th in the world to be implanted with the Total Artificial Heart.

"He will still need a donor heart, but we have time now to wait for the best match," said Dr. Jeffrey Dreyer, medical director of cardiac transplantation at Texas Children's Hospital. "The Total Artificial Heart will improve his overall health and allow him to enjoy increased activity during the wait for a donor heart."

Prior to being hospitalized, Jordan had been looking forward to his prom (May 27), his 18th birthday (May 29) and his graduation (June 5). Jordan missed his prom while in the hospital, but thanks to his medical team and SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart, he celebrated his 18th birthday just a week after his surgery. Jordan was also able to watch his graduation ceremony online. Jordan's class gave him a standing ovation when his 16-year-old sister accepted his diploma on his behalf.

Jordan was born with multiple congenital heart defects, including his heart on the wrong side of his chest (dextrocardia) and his heart vessels backwards (corrected transposition of the great arteries - TGA). Growing up, he underwent two open chest surgeries, several surgical revisions and implantation of a defibrillator. By September 2010, Jordan's heart had begun to fail, and he was placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant.

In April 2011, Jordan was admitted to Texas Children's Hospital with heart failure symptoms and kidney insufficiency. During the following weeks, he was in and out of the cardiovascular intensive care unit. Then, on the weekend of May 21, all of his organs began to fail and he was placed on a ventilator. To save Jordan's life, on May 22, doctors implanted SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart.

Watch news stories about Jordan
View video of Jordan's journey so far from YouTube
Read press release from Texas Children's Hospital

About the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart
SynCardia Systems, Inc. (Tucson, AZ) is the privately-held manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart. Originally used as a permanent replacement heart, the Total is currently approved as a bridge to transplant for people dying from end-stage biventricular heart failure. More than 900 implants account for more than 210 patient years of life.

Similar to a heart transplant, SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart replaces both failing heart ventricles and the four heart valves. It is the only device that eliminates the symptoms and source of end-stage biventricular failure. The Total Artificial Heart provides immediate, safe blood flow of up to 9.5 liters per minute through both ventricles. This high volume of safe blood flow helps speed the recovery of vital organs, helping make the patient a better transplant candidate.

In March 2011, Fast Company magazine ranked SynCardia #20 among the World's 50 Most Innovative Companies "for giving mobility to artificial heart recipients." Also in March, the longest running health and wellness series on public television, "Healthy Body, Healthy Mind," produced a 30-minute program featuring SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart. View here

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