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Artificial Heart Implanted at UK Hospital

From Brenna Angel, Kentucky Public Radio Doctors in Lexington have successfully implanted a Syncardia Total Artificial Heart. This is the first time this brand of artificial heart has been implanted in Kentucky. Dr. Mark Plunkett, chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Kentucky, says the artificial heart is a bridge until a transplant is ready. “The device is a polyurethane device. It has two pumps, each driven by its own drive line, and it has four mechanical valves,” he said. The patient is 20-year-old Zack Poe (right) of Maysville. Doctors diagnosed his heart failure in January.“I feel a million times better. Because of the outflow volume, I’ve been able to walk longer without pain than I have in months,” Poe said. Poe will go on the transplant list later this week for donor heart. Only 29 medical centers across the country are certified to perform the artificial heart procedure. (Photo courtesy of UK Hospital)

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.