Teen-age Patient at UMC is Youngest in World to be Placed on Total Artificial Heart
Alex Rowe became the youngest person in the world to be placed on a total artificial heart on Oct. 7, 2003, when surgeons at University Medical Center removed his own diseased heart and replaced it with the CardioWest Total Artificial Heart (TAH).
The device, developed at UMC, kept him alive for two months before he underwent a heart transplant on Dec. 9, 2003. Jack G. Copeland, MD, and Pei Tsau, MD, performed the surgery.
Alex suffers from muscular dystrophy, but didn't have heart problems until this summer, when his heart became stiff and unable to pump blood efficiently. His heart went into cardiac arrest during a catheterization procedure at UMC and, after 20 minutes of unsuccessful cardiopulmonary resuscitation, surgeons decided to take out Alex's heart and replace it with the CardioWest TAH. He was 15 at the time.
Alex spent his 16th birthday in the hospital waiting for a heart to become available. About two weeks ago, he got the call he and his family had been waiting for. The heart transplant went smoothly and Alex was discharged today.
Alex -- the son of a doctor father and nurse mother -- is from Mesa but will live in Tucson for the next few months as he recuperates.
The CardioWest TAH is designed for severely ill patients with end-stage congestive heart failure. The CardioWest TAH serves as an in-hospital bridge-to-transplantation for patients at imminent risk of death. CardioWest TAH is developed by SynCardia Systems of Tucson.
For more information about the CardioWest TAH, please contact Kristina Ebenius or Lauren Arnold of Schwartz Communications at (781) 684-0770 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The youngest patient in the world to be implanted with a total artificial heart speaks about his experiences. Heart surgeon Jack G. Copeland, MD, also will speak.
Monday, Dec. 22, at 12 p.m. (MST)
University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center. Media will be escorted from the lobby of UMC.
Pila Martinez, (520) 626-4083
The family prefers not to make comments until the news conference on Monday.