A 66-year old, retired school-teacher has become the first person in New England to receive a total artificial heart transplant.
The life-saving operation was done at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The hospital said that James Carelli was diagnosed last year with cardiac senile amyloidosis that leads to total heart failure. He is now on artificial heart and waiting for a heart transplant.
The surgery was performed in February, but the doctors waited till yesterday to make sure that Carelli body accepted the device. Cardiac senile amyloidosis occurs when protein is deposited on the heart muscles and prevents it to function normally.
He will be receiving a kidney transplant along with a heart transplant as he has had complication in the kidney due to the disease.
"Since the February procedure, Mr. Carelli’s overall health has improved dramatically, and he is currently on the waiting list for a heart and kidney transplant. He has received unwavering support from his family and his care team," said BWH president Dr. Betsy Nabel, in a statement released by Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
"His heart was failing quickly and he wasn't able to eat much because of the fluid content being kept in this body and you know any chance of his getting better was to go ahead and to trust what we were being told and we do and did and this is the bridge to a transplant and we are gonna make it," his wife Jane said in the video.
Boston Herald reported that Chris Marshall, 51, now hiking mountains in Pacific Northwest had received Total Artificial Heart at the University of Washington Medical Center in February and was discharged March 21. He is now awaiting a heart donor.
Carelli says that this artificial heart is a hope to people who have a serious heart problem.
"People are going to realize that if you have a real serious heart problem, you have an alternative now. It may take months, but at least you'll get through it and that's a big hope, because sometimes people have no hope at all," Carelli said.
Carelli and his wife talk about the surgery in a video released by the hospital.