The world’s smallest artificial heart device called the Miniaturized Ventricular Assist Device (MVAD) has been implanted for the first time in a 63-year-old Northern Ireland man.
How the MVAD works
Harold Chivers, an elderly from Bangor, County Down, is the very first recipient of the artificial heart pump which is the size of a golf ball. The £80,000-worth MVAD, the smallest of the group of similar devices, is placed at the base of the heart from where it helps to pump blood.
The surgery was successfully performed by Professor Stephan Schueler who is a consultant cardiac surgeon at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, UK. Chivers had a heart attack last year and was waiting for a heart transplant when he was informed of the opportunity of having an MVAD.
Chivers might return home in a couple of days as he is making great progress in recovering, according to Professor Schueler.
“He is in the process of being taught how to use it, keep it clean and how to change the batteries. There are lots of safety features, it is like taking your driver’s license,” said the surgeon.
“I feel great, it has really improved my breathing and the operation has gone really well,” said Harold Chivers, in a statement to The Telegraph. “I am getting a lot better, I’m eating a lot better, I’m getting around and working on my physio. There’s a long way to go but I’m going to do it.”
The MVAD can be adjusted as per the patient’s lifestyle and routines. It is powered by an external battery set connected to a wire that is to be carried by the patient. It weighs only 78 grams, making it the smallest of its predecessors. Furthermore, the small size could make it ideal for children with heart disease.
More patients will soon enlist their participation for a trial process to test the MVAD.