Health Minister, Adalberto Campos Ferreira, announced today that the first artificial heart to be implanted in a patient in Portugal had been a success for the team at the Santa Marta hospital in Lisbon.
The patient, a man aged 64, has severe kidney disease that prevented a heart transplant from a donor. The patient had a machine placed in his chest with a connection to enable recharging.
José Fragata explained that in heart transplants, drugs are used to prevent organ rejection but that these drugs cause kidney damage so this was not an option and this was why an implant was chosen.
According to José Fragata, about twenty heart implant operations have been carried out in Spain, but in Portugal this is a first and there are six more patients waiting for the specialist operation.
This patient, who is conscious and who already has received visitors, has joined a select club of 1,200 patients across the world who have had this operation.
According to the surgeon, the system works like a cell phone with a 17 hour life before it needs recharging overnight.