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    Pumped up for bowls comeback
    News
    COURTNEY WALSH
    351 Words
    25 September 2003
    Herald-Sun
    English
    (c) 2003 Herald and Weekly Times Limited

    SELF-proclaimed bowling legend Henry Nathan will soon be back on the greens after receiving a new type of artificial heart.

    Last month, the 75-year-old Melburnian became only the second person in the world to receive the new-generation heart.

    The first, whose identity has not been revealed, is recovering at his Melbourne home three months after

    his operation.

    Mr Nathan, who first underwent open-heart surgery in 1983, has suffered a string of heart problems since.

    But he said the new heart, which was implanted on August 29, had boosted his outlook on life.

    "It means a new life, as simple as that," he said.

    "I am feeling fabulous."

    Both men volunteered to receive the Australian-designed heart, named VentrAssist, as part of a trial at the Alfred Hospital.

    Associate Professor Don Esmore, who performed both operations, plans to install the new heart in eight patients over the next year.

    The device, which is implanted just below the left rib cage, does not replace the failing heart but uses rechargeable batteries to help pump blood to and from it.

    A thin lead, which exits below the right rib cage, connects the pump to the controller and batteries worn on a belt or as a backpack.

    Mr Nathan, who received an Order of Australia for his services to Heartbeat Victoria, said a return to the bowling green was imminent.

    "I am a brilliant lawn bowler and I love playing," he said. "I don't know how I am going to go, whether I will be able to stand up . . . but I will have a go."

    He is expected to leave hospital this week.

    Professor Esmore said only the sickest patients, with no other treatments available to them, had been selected to take part in the trial.

    The noted surgeon said the VentrAssist's size was its best asset because it could be implanted in smaller patients than earlier models.

    He said there was no sign the new pump would experience problems associated with older models, such as mechanical failure or infection.

 
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