Implantation of Mechanical Heart at the Heart Institute

October, 12, 2018

On October 12, 2018, at the Kiev Heart Institute, a third time in Ukraine, a patient with a diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy was implanted with a mechanical heart – a high-tech development of the German company Berlin Heart, which provides the patient with complete circulatory support at while his own heart is not capable of it by itself. This mechanical heart is implanted into the patient’s chest and is fed through an electrical cable from an external power supply. The turbine motor, made of titanium, constantly rotates in a magnetic field, using silicone and graphite tubes connected to the apex of the left ventricle and aorta, and can sustain the patient’s life for a long time, giving him the opportunity to wait for a donor heart transplant.

The first two mechanical hearts were also implanted at the Heart Institute in 2016. Despite the fairly widespread use of this technology in developed countries, for Ukraine such operations remain unique because the procedure was provided for very few patients.

This time the patient is 46-year-old Vasyl Pavlyuk from Ternopil region. The implantation of an artificial heart saved his life, because without this operation he had only a few days to live, and he was delivered to the operating table in a critical condition.

The successful surgery was conducted by the team of the Heart Institute of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine under the leadership of the Director of the Institute, Professor Borys Todurov, together with Professor of the Cardiac Surgery Clinic, Sofia, Bulgaria Dimitr Petkov. The team of surgeons included the chief anesthesiologist of the Heart Institute Nikolay Goncharenko, the head of the department of extracorporeal treatment methods Alexander Druzhina and others.

Boris Todurov: “This is not an easy procedure, I would say that this is space technology. It is quite difficult to implant a mechanical device and ensure that it works like a second heart and creates additional blood flow. There should be well-coordinated work of surgeons, cardiologists, resuscitators, engineers, technicians, and perfusionists – this is the teamwork, where each participant must be a reliable link and do their job as well as possible.”

Due to the legal barriers to heart transplantation in Ukraine that exist today, the only solution for patients with a diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy is a surgical “bridge” to transplantation — an operation to implant an artificial heart. Thus, one of the patients of Boris Todurov, who underwent the same implantation of a mechanical heart in 2016, Lyudmila Filiarenko had lived with a mechanical heart for 9 months until a donor heart was transplanted to her in Belarus. In general, there are people in the world, who live with a mechanical heart for up to 10 years or more.