For the first time in Israel, Rabin Medical Center's Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, headed by Dr. Eyal Porat, implanted an artificial heart as a replacement for a real heart.
The patient, a 63 year old man, was transferred to Rabin Medical Center in a state of organ failure caused by a severe viral infection of the heart. He was placed on an ECMO machine, a life saving technology that can preserve the heart, but not function as a permanent solution. After several days on the ECMO machine, the patient's doctors diagnosed him with irreversible heart damage and came to the conclusion that only a heart transplant could save him. Unfortunately there was no matching heart available, and the patient's situation had become critical. The decision was made to replace his heart with an artificial one, even though this surgery had never been performed in Israel.
The unique artificial heart transplant was led by Dr. Benjamin Medalion, Director of Rabin Medical Center's Heart and Lung Transplantation Unit in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, along with an expert team of cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiologists, anesthesiologists, nurses, and transplant coordinators from the hospital. Also part of the surgical team was a special guest, Prof. Jack Copeland, the Michael Drummond Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at the Sarver Heart Center in Arizona who traveled from the USA to assist in this specific transplant.
According to Dr. Benjamin Medalion, "the transplanted artifical heart, (Total Artifical Heart) produced by SynCardia, is used to replace the real heart, as opposed to other assistive devises (left ventricular assist devices), which have been used in Israel only as a bridge to getting a new heart or a different permanent solution."
According to Dr. Eyal Porat, "in a very short time we were able to make the preparations for this unusual transplant which required cooperation with several overseas partners incuding the participation of renowned cardiothoracic surgeon Prof. Jack Copleand. This amazing team effort, which sucessfully replaced the man’s own heart with an artifical heart, demonstrated once again that Rabin Meidcal Center continues to be the leading heart center in the country, pioneering new technologies which saves lives."
Over five hundred and forty eminent american friends and patrons of Rabin Medical Center gathered at the Pierre Hotel on October 30, 2005 to show their solidarity with the State of Israel and to acknowledge the outstanding accomplishments of Rabin Medical Center.