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Men Doing Well With Mechanical Hearts

Another patient received a fully-implantable artificial heart this week, bringing to three the total number of people alive today without a natural heart. The latest implantation took place in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday, September 26, during a six-hour surgery.

Surgeons are reporting a successful removal of the man's natural heart and implantation of the new fully self-contained mechanical heart known as the AbioCor, says Dr. Emily Senay.

The AbioCor contains a small motor that pumps blood through two chambers, designed to be implanted in the chest along with a rechargeable battery that works on its own for up to 30 minutes. It's all completely contained within the body. An external power source worn as a belt transmits electricity through the skin to recharge the battery.

The most recent patient is in stable condition and not experiencing any problems so far. Doctors have not revealed any details about the man's identity, saying only that he had been desperately ill for a long time and was not a candidate for heart transplant.

On Sept. 13 in Louisville, Kentucky, surgeons implanted a second patient, 70-year-old Tom Christeson, with the AbioCor. The first artificial heart patient, 59-year-old Bob Tools, has survived for almost three months now.
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