Rush University Medical Center in Training for Temporary Artificial Heart


March 11, 2008

March 10, 2008 – On March 10 and 11, at Rush University Medical Center (RUSH), Chicago, IL, a mechanical circulatory support and heart transplant team will participate in the first phase of certification training for the CardioWest temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t), which could designate Rush as one of the first U.S. healthcare facilities able to discharge artificial heart patients home for their recovery.

In the first half of 2008, SynCardia Systems, Inc. plans to make an application to the FDA to conduct an IDE clinical study of a universal driver system designed for use in both the hospital and for discharge. The team led by chair of Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgery, Robert S.D. Higgins, M.D., and Cardiologist Jose C. Mendez, M.D., notes that the IDE clinical study still is pending FDA clearance for the Companion Universal Driver. If it is approved, “we will be one of the first centers in the U.S. able to discharge artificial heart patients home for their recovery,” Dr. Higgins said. “We are extremely excited about bringing this life-saving technology to the Chicagoland area for patients battling end stage heart failure. The CardioWest artificial heart provides the best biventricular support available.”

The third phase of CardioWest certification training is the proctored first implant of the artificial heart. Rush will be the 32nd hospital in the world and the 16th in the U.S. to complete the first phase of certification training. There are currently 24 TAH-t certified centers worldwide, with eight additional hospitals currently undergoing the certification process.

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