A Chinese hospital in Zhejiang province has achieved a breakthrough in the medical field by successfully carrying out the first minimally invasive artificial heart implant surgery in the country, according to a report by Chinanews.com. The patient, referred to as Chen, is reportedly recovering well.
The surgery was performed on 28 November 2022 by Cui Yong, head of the cardiac and vascular surgery department of Zhejiang Provincial People’s Hospital, and his team. Chen was suffering from severe heart failure, and surgery was the only effective method to save his life. However, because Chen had previously undergone heart surgery, it was not safe to open his chest from the original incision. Instead, the team opted for a minimally invasive surgery that did not require cardiac exposure and caused less bleeding, making it a safer choice for patients.
The minimally invasive procedure only required two incisions and caused no damage to the patient’s ribs. Chen was successfully extubated on the first day after the surgery and could move around on the fifth day. He was transferred from the intensive care unit to a regular ward on the seventh day and was discharged on December 19.
Chen’s case highlights the advancements in medical technology and the benefits it brings to patients suffering from life-threatening conditions. The patient, who had been diagnosed with severe heart failure seven years ago, underwent aortic valve replacement surgery at the same hospital. After the surgery, he had almost recovered. However, one year ago, his left ventricle began to enlarge again, and he underwent cardiac resynchronization therapy and had a triple-chamber pacemaker implanted in the hospital’s cardiovascular department. Unfortunately, several months ago, Chen again experienced symptoms such as limb weakness and shortness of breath.
Left ventricular assist device implantation became an important treatment option for Chen when heart transplantation was no longer a feasible option due to his unstable circulation. The device, introduced by Cui as an artificial instrument to replace or assist the heart function and promote the recovery of organ function, is a new generation of left ventricular assist devices with full-magnetic levitation that has been listed in China with independent intellectual property rights.
Cui’s team completed three artificial heart implant surgeries between November and December, and all patients recovered well, the report said. Chen, who wears a pack containing a power source, rechargeable batteries and a monitor that provides sufficient power to his “artificial heart” through a fine wire inserted through a subcutaneous tunnel in his abdomen, said, “Technology and medicine have given me a new lease on life.”
The minimally invasive approach to artificial heart implantation used by Cui and his team is a safer alternative to traditional methods and has the potential to transform the way heart surgeries are performed.