Total Artificial Heart

Sentara Heart Hospital is the first and only facility in Hampton Roads to offer the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart, a life-saving bridge to keep the blood pumping and improve the quality of life for heart failure patients awaiting a donor heart transplant.

What is the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart?

When heart disease weakens the heart muscles to the point where vital organs -- like the kidneys, liver and brain -- are not receiving an adequate blood supply, patients have two options to restore their vital blood flow: a donor heart transplant or now, the total artificial heart.

Similar to a donor heart transplant, the Total Artificial Heart is the only device that eliminates the symptoms and source of end-stage biventricular heart failure.

With the Total Artificial Heart implant, crucial blood flow is restored to vital organs, helping the patient to become a healthier transplant recipient. With the surgical implantation of the Total Artificial Heart comes the need to be tethered to the hospital-based power source nicknamed “Big Blue.” Sentara Heart is participating in a clinical trial that offers the freedom of a wearable, backpack-sized Freedom® driver system.

How does it work?

During the six hour operation, Sentara Heart cardiothoracic surgeons remove most of the entire diseased heart and implant the artificial heart.

Details about the surgery:

  • Both failing ventricles in the heart are removed.
  • The four native valves are removed.
  • The atria, aorta and pulmonary artery remain intact.
  • Quick connects are sewn into the atria, aorta and pulmonary artery.
  • The Total Artificial Heart is implanted and attached via four quick connects.
  • When a donor heart becomes available, the Total Artificial Heart and quick connects are removed.
  • The donor heart is implanted.

How do I learn more?

To refer a patient or speak to one of our cardiologists, call 757-388-0340.


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