Israel performs first heart accessory implant surgery in Israel

Usually, when a cardiac aid is implanted, it is done through open heart surgery. But Israeli doctors managed to implant one under the skin of the patient, effectively saving her life.

The transplant operation being performed at Bellinson Medical Center.   (photo credit: Courtesy)
The transplant operation being performed at Bellinson Medical Center.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The first cardiac accessory implant surgery in Israel was performed Monday at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva, highlighting a major medical technological advancement in the field of cardiac healthcare.
In this case, a patient required a cardiac aid, but this time, rather than being implanted using open heart surgery as is usually the case, the implant was simply inserted beneath the skin.
The 65-year-old patient had entered surgery to replace a faulty and infected valve when she had suffered heart failure.
Emergency intervention was needed to save her life.
At the prompt decision of Dr. Yaron Barac, director of the Heart and Lung Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support Programs at the Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at Beilinson, the medical team proceeded to perform a surgery that included attaching the patient to a valve implant via a subcutaneous — or beneath the skin — approach, unlike the more common procedure involving open heart surgery to hide the device.
The patient was connected to a single ProtekDuo Cannula that allows unoxygenated blood to be drawn from the right atrium and returns oxygenated blood directly to the patient's pulmonary artery all through a single tube attached to the patient's neck.
"Thanks to this method we are opening a new window for the most difficult patients. The failure of the right ventricle has always been a great challenge for treatment. The use of the new technology allows the use of a right ventricle assist device and slow weaning from the device until the return to normal heart function," said Barac.
"If until now the patients connected to this type of device were anesthetized, respiratory and immobile, today we can watch the patient we connected to the right ventricle assist device in amazement and excitement while she is conscious, talking and eating as the same person," added Barac. "In this way the patient shares in her recovery and for us this thing is of immense value. We are happy that the transplant was successful, the support helped the patient recover and she is now at home and feeling great."
In this procedure, the patient remains fully conscious, mobile and able to perform daily tasks during the recovery process.
Following the procedure, only a brief rehabilitation process was required and the patient was released home. 
The procedure was completed without a hitch. Such treatment could open a whole new world of treatment for more complicated cases.
"The artificial heart transplant implicitly reflects the unique collaboration between the array of cardiac and thoracic surgeries and the cardiology array at Beilinson Hospital which makes excellence from both worlds accessible to patients," said Dr. Ben Ben-Avraham, a senior doctor in the heart failure unit at the hospital. "The use of the device requires a very high level of skill on the part of all staff members caring for the patient, throughout all stages - from the transplant itself, through the period of hospitalization in intensive care to weaning from the cardiac assist device. There is nothing more satisfying than the ability to give our patients the most innovative medical care available in the world."
"Hospitals from all over the country are calling on us to help and treat the most difficult patients whose hearts or lungs have collapsed," "Thanks to this groundbreaking technology we can provide groundbreaking medicine for the most complex and difficult patients for whom in the not so distant past there was no proper solution; experience gained after performing over 1,300 heart, lung and artificial heart transplants."