16 Aug 2010

Man first in Australia to receive artificial heart

9:10 pm on 16 August 2010

An Australian hospital says it has performed the southern hemisphere's first total artificial heart transplant.

The patient at St Vincent Hospital in Sydney will use the artificial heart until a real one becomes available for transplant, the ABC reports.

The 50-year-old man from Fairfield who received the implant was suffering from total heart failure.

Angelo Tigano had suffered heart problems for more than a decade and walking more than a few steps left him gasping for breath.

The hospital says he eventually became so ill he was unable to eat or sleep and without the artificial heart transplant, he would not have survived.

Mr Tigano underwent five hours of surgery, during which his heart was removed and replaced with a mechanical device. It mimics the function of the left and right heart ventricles, which are responsible for pumping blood.

Doctors say Mr Tigano should now be able to live a relatively normal life until a donor heart becomes available for a normal heart transplant.