Total Artificial Heart Implantation
The first patient in the metropolitan New York area to be discharged with a Total Artificial Heart was treated at Mount Sinai Heart Hospital. Twenty-eight-year-old Daquain Jenkins, who is awaiting a heart transplant, was implanted with the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart in August 2012. By relying on a mobile power supply that he carries in his backpack, Mr. Jenkins is able to leave the hospital until a suitable donor heart is found.
Unique Portable Power Source Allows Patient to Return Home
Mr. Jenkins is part of an FDA-approved Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) clinical study that is examining the Freedom® portable driver, a 13.5-pound wearable power supply for the total artificial heart. The portable driver provides enough power for the heart to last up to three hours from batteries before being recharged using an outlet or car charger. Patients receive an extra set of batteries for longer excursions.
In August, Mr. Jenkins was on the urgent list for a heart transplant and deteriorating rapidly. The only option to save his life was the total artificial heart. The Mount Sinai team was experienced in the implantation of artificial heart pumps, but had not previously implanted this particular device.
Nonetheless, Anelechi Anyanwu, MD, Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Sean Pinney, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), Co-Directors of Mount Sinai's Heart Transplant program, decided that Mr. Jenkins should undergo a total artificial heart implant at Mount Sinai as a life-saving procedure. A team was assembled and trained in two days, and the artificial heart flown in from Arizona.
Anelechi Anyanwu, MD, and David Adams, MD, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Professor and Chairman, of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, and Marc Stone, MD, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology led a surgical team that implanted the artificial heart in an eight-hour procedure in which Mr. Jenkins' own heart was removed. Mr. Jenkins remained at Mount Sinai, recovering under the care of his cardiologists, surgeons and artificial heart device coordinators.
"We believed that the Total Artificial Heart was the only hope of saving Daquain's life, and as part of Mount Sinai's commitment to providing the best care for our patients, we made sure he got it," said Dr. Anyanwu. "The portable driver will help him maintain his quality of life as he returns home and resumes his daily activities."
Daquain Jenkins' Heart Troubles Turn to Triumph at Mount Sinai
Mr. Jenkins was diagnosed with congestive heart failure at age 25, when he went to the doctor near his home in Monticello, N.Y. complaining of symptoms of pneumonia. His father had died of heart failure at age 28. Mr. Jenkins started on medical therapy, which worked for a year before he started having symptoms again. He had a pacemaker and a defibrillator implanted at a local hospital, but his condition continued to worsen.
When a local cardiologist recommended he come to Mount Sinai for treatment, Ajith Nair, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) evaluated him and recommended he undergo heart transplantation. In April 2011, he had a heart transplant at Mount Sinai, but his body rejected the heart after a year. Because both sides of the donor heart were failing rapidly, and he was ineligible for a left ventricular assist device—a type of mechanical heart pump that is more commonly used to support left side heart failure.
"Daquain has recovered remarkably well from his surgery," said Dr. Nair. "We are pleased to give him the opportunity to spend time with his family and continue his schooling while he waits for a donor heart."
Mr. Jenkins is grateful that the portable driver will give him the opportunity to walk his kids to the bus stop; a simple task he was unable to do when his first transplant failed.
"Dr. Nair and his colleagues changed my life," said Mr. Jenkins. "Without this device, I wouldn't be here. Now, I take everything life brings me with a smile."