A 46-year-old former fitness instructor, suffering from biventricular end-stage heart failure and in irreversible cardiogenic shock, has become the first to receive a new temporary Total Artificial Heart in the Northeast U.S. by cardiac surgeons at the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

The lifesaving technology is used as a "bridge to transplant" for patients who are waiting for a donor human heart and who have both sides of their heart failing, do not respond to other treatments and are at imminent risk of death. Research has shown that patients receiving the device, called the temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t) and manufactured by CardioWest (SynCardia Systems, Inc.), have almost twice the survival rate versus patients who received standard ventricular assist devices.

Rohinton Morris, MD, Surgical Director, Heart Transplantation and Mechanical Assist Programs at Penn, and his team performed Penn's first implant of a TAH-t on February 12, 2007.

WHERE: Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP)
Surgical Theater, Ground Floor, White Building
34 & Spruce Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19104

WHEN: February 19, 2007.


* Rohinton Morris, MD, Surgical Director, Heart Transplantation and Mechanical Assist Programs at Penn

* Michael Acker, MD, Chief, Division of Cardiac Surgery at Penn

* Gary Onufer, 46-year-old TAH-t recipient patient; Ambler, Pennsylvania resident; and former fitness instructor

The TAH-t is the only temporary artificial heart approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada and Communite Europeenne for "bridge to transplant."


For more information on Rohinton Morris, MD, go on-line to:

For more information on Penn Cardiac Surgery, visit:

PENN Medicine is a $2.9 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn's School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #3 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes three hospitals, all of which have received numerous national patient-care honors [Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center]; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home care and hospice.

Contact: Susanne Hartman
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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