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Artificial heart survivor dies
Los Angeles Times BIRMINGHAM ENGLAND
Peter Houghton, the world’s longest-surviving recipient of an artificial heart, died Nov.25th. at a hospital in his home city of Birmingham, England. He was 68.
The cause of death was multiple organ failure, but physicians had to disconnect the battery of the artificial heart before he could be declared dead. Houghton received the Jarvik 2000 artificial heart in June, three years after he had suffered a massive heart attack caused by the viral flu..
The pump was implanted by Dr.Stephen
Westaby at John Ratcliffe Hospital in Oxford- the first time the pump developed by Dr. Robert Jarvik had been tested in a human.
Westaby said the other six patients in whom the pump had been implanted had not survived nearly as long as Houghton.
The Jarvic pump is designed to support body’s blood circulation until a donor heart becomes available for a transplant, but Houghton’s age and medical condition ruled him out as a trans-plant recipient.
At the time of the surgery, his heart had deteriorated until it had only 10 percent of normal function, he was barely able to walk and doctors gave him a few weeks to live.
Two weeks after the surgery, he went for a three kilometer walk.
He was active in charity work during the seven extra years of life he received, participating in a 145-kolometer charity walk, hiking the Alps, traveling to support to support heart research, writing two books and raising millions of dollars for other victims of heart attacks.
But in the past few months, his deteriorating condition forced him into a nursing home and eventually into the hospital where he died.
Houghton was a former amateur rugby player before his heart attack. Trained as a psychologist, he worked at Middlesex Hospital counseling patients who were on the verge of death. Doctors thought that experience helped make him a good candidate for the experimental procedure.
[info_box]MYTH: If I am in an accident and the hospital knows that I want to be a donor, the doctors will not try to save my life. FACT: Organ and tissue recovery takes place only after all efforts to save your life have been exhausted and death has been legally declared. The medical team treating you is completely separate from the transplant team. The organ procurement organization (OPO) is not notified until all lifesaving efforts have failed. The OPO does not notify the transplant team until the family has consented to donation.
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