A British man has set a record after he lived without a heart for two years — surviving with the help of an external blood pump.
Matthew Green, 42, a married pharmaceutical consultant with a seven-year-old son, received a donor heart early last month having lived for two years with an external blood pump after the removal of his own fatally diseased organ.
The heart transplant was carried out at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire. Green remains in hospital but doctors are hopeful he will be able to return home soon.
“I feel incredibly lucky that I have been given a third lease of life as a result of my heart transplant,” said Green. In July 2011, both main chambers of Green’s heart failed as a result of an unusual form of the condition cardiomyopathy that causes the electrical impulses controlling the heart to go out of rhythm. He underwent an experimental procedure at Papworth to remove the diseased organ altogether, and instead connect his blood vessels to an external pump.
After the procedure his heart function was taken over by a large pump on a trolley. A rechargeable battery powered pump in a backpack allowed him to leave the house for up to three hours at a time.
Green was warned against relying on it for longer than two years because of a risk that it may cause fatal blood clots. At 6ft 3 in Green needed a sufficiently powerful heart from a similar-sized donor. He was just within this two-year cutoff when a suitable organ became available last month. “I am delighted that we were able to find a suitable donor heart for Matthew to have a heart transplant and I expect him to go home very soon,” Steven Tsui, clinical director of transplant services at Papworth, said.