Can a Man Live without His Heart?

You would have heard this about lovers who metaphorically give their hearts to each other and still manage to survive. But in real life? Hard to even imagine – unless you are some ghost or a zombie.

But it is said that a total artificial heart patient enjoys spotlight as “the only man in Turkey who lives without a heart.” How? In May 2011, Omer Bayrak made headlines when he became the first patient in Turkey to be discharged from the hospital using the Freedom portable driver to power his SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart.

Since returning home to wait for a matching donor heart, Bayrak has been enjoying his new-found celebrity as “the only man in Turkey who lives without a heart.” It is claimed by SynCardia Systems, Inc. in a statement issued today, Sept. 29.

The company explains further: On Sept. 17, after almost 180 days of support with SynCardia’s Total Artificial Heart, Bayrak attended the annual meeting of the Turkish Society for Artificial Organs and Support Systems (TUYOD).

During a session about the Total Artificial Heart, he was invited to the stage and the audience asked him several questions. He responded that he was “doing really well and very comfortable with SynCardia’s Total Artificial Heart.” He also added that he is continuing his daily life with very few limitations, and has returned to work.

It is stated that Bayrak is also currently featured on an eight-story tall billboard on Florence Nightingale Hospital in Istanbul. In English, the billboard reads, “The only man in Turkey who lives without a heart but with an artificial heart. Florence Nightingale Heart Transplant and Total Artificial Heart Center.”

At the same time, the company cautions that the Freedom portable driver is an investigational device, limited by United States law to investigational use.

SynCardia Systems, Inc. is the privately held company. It claims to be a 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, the company says.

Similar to a heart transplant, SynCardia’s Total Artificial Heart replaces both failing heart ventricles and the four heart valves. It is said to be 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, claims the company.

In the picture above: (From L to R): Dr. Erman Pektok, Total Artificial Heart patient Omer Bayrak, Prof. Dr. Deniz Suha Kucukaksu and Dr. Zumrut Tuba Demirozu, at Florence Nightingale Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey.

Photo courtesy: SynCardia Systems

RMN News

Rakesh Raman