Artificial heart patient dies 56 days after implantation

DANVERS, Massachusetts (Reuters) – ABIOMED Inc., maker of the AbioCor artificial heart, announced on Thursday that a 74-year-old male patient has died 56 days after receiving the implant.

The patient, who has never been identified to the public, died at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles from complications stemming from multiple organ failure.

Of the six patients who received the plastic and titanium heart, three remain alive. The longest survival period among the remaining patients is 91 days.

The first AbioCor patient, Robert Tools, survived 151 days before succumbing to bleeding problems on November 30. The sixth recipient of the device did not survive the surgery. Doctors said the unidentified male patient died on November 27 from uncontrolled bleeding during surgery.

"We remain confident that the AbioCor will prove to be a replacement heart that can provide both significant life extension and good quality of life for heart failure patients who would otherwise have no hope," Dr. David Lederman, Chief Executive of ABIOMED, said in a prepared statement.

The AbioCor clinical trial is designed to test whether the device can extend life for patients with end-state heart failure who have no other clinical option and provide them with an acceptable quality of life.

The inclusion criteria for the AbioCor study require that patients have biventricular heart failure with no viable treatment alternative and a high probability of death within 30 days.

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