French hospital celebrates 30 years of implanting artificial hearts


La Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital (Paris, France), the world’s leading artificial heart centre, is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the first Total Artificial Heart implantation. The centre has now performed 249 implants of the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart and has implanted more of the devices than any other medical centre in the world.  Furthermore, Christian Cabrol, who implanted the first Total Artificial Heart implantation in April 1986, also performed the first heart transplant in Europe (1968) and the first heart-lung transplant (1982).

A press release reports that La Pitié accounts for 16% of the 1,586 SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t) implants and those of its direct predecessors and that, overall, France is responsible for 23% of all TAH-t implants worldwide. It adds that currently, SynCardia TAH-t implants in France are conducted at 13 SynCardia certified centres. The country logged a 71% increase in SynCardia heart implantations in 2015 over 2014.

Michael P Garippa, president and CEO of SynCardia Systems, says: “While the SynCardia heart was developed in the USA, it has been the work of La Pitié that helped further refine use of the device, patient-care protocol and recovery.”

According to the press release, Pascal Leprince—who now directs SynCardia Heart implantations at La Pitié—implanted the first 50cc TAH-t in the world 23 December 2014. The device is a smaller version of the 70cc SynCardia Total Artificial Heart. The new 50cc SynCardia TAH-t is approved for use in Europe through the CE mark and separately by Health Canada. It is available in the USA through an FDA-approved Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) clinical study and for compassionate or emergency use at SynCardia certified centres.