VCR ventracor limited

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    This is the previously discussed item from "The Australian" which will be added to this series:

    Artificial heart trial a success
    By Richard Yallop
    August 16, 2003
    AUSTRALIA is close to a world-leading breakthrough in artificial heart technology after the success of a recent operation on a man, 72, at Melbourne's Alfred hospital.

    Don Esmore, head of the hospital's heart and lung transplant unit, said yesterday the initial clinical trial of the Australian-designed VentrAssist artificial heart had been a success. It was one of the most encouraging developments in the 35-year international effort to develop an effective artificial heart.

    The recipient, whose name has not been given, faced imminent death from terminal heart disease when the device was implanted on June 28. He has now been alive for 50 days, having experienced none of the complications that have dogged other artificial heart devices. He is expected to go home next week.

    "The result has been spectacular," Professor Esmore said. "It's an Australian success story with the potential to help hundreds of thousands of people worldwide."

    Heart disease is the biggest killer in Australia and heart transplants remain the first-choice treatment for end-stage heart disease. However, demand for heart replacement exceeds donor supply by 50 to one.

    John Woodard, a co-designer of the device, which was developed by Ventracor, said the early success of the trial offered renewed hope for patients with severe heart failure who were ineligible for a heart transplant.

    Since 1984, various artificial hearts have been used as a "bridge to transplant" to keep patients alive until they can undergo a heart transplant, which has a 60-70 per cent success rate.

    In the Alfred trial, patients over 65 and on maximum drug therapy, and who would otherwise die from terminal heart disease, will receive the artificial device.

    Professor Esmore implanted the first artificial heart in Australia at the hospital in 1990. He said existing designs, mostly from the US, have suffered from unexpected mechanical failures, recurrent infections, blood clot formation and damage to the blood cells.

    None of these problems has occurred with the new device.

    "Our patient is an older man with recurrent admissions to hospital in severe heart failure, with many of his bodily functions progressively failing," Professor Esmore said. Since the operation his health had improved on all fronts.,5744,6968876%255E2702,00.html

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