19 November 2021, by Victoria Séveno
In what can be considered a breakthrough for the Dutch healthcare system, doctors at University Medical Centre Utrecht have carried out vital surgery in which a patient received a brand new artificial heart. This marks the first time this kind of surgery has taken place in the Netherlands.
First artificial heart surgery in the Netherlands
The 54-year-old man suffered from severe heart failure, and doctors report his situation was so critical he was unable to wait for a viable donor. This meant doctors had to turn to experimental treatments to save his life.
About two weeks ago, doctors at the hospital in Utrecht carried out life-saving surgery. Cardiologist Linda van Laake called the operation revolutionary, while cardiothoracic surgeon Faiz Ramjankhan said he was “delighted” to carry out the Netherlands’ first artificial heart transplant.
The patient is said to be recovering well, and was discharged from intensive care only two days after the operation. His doctors say he should be home in time for the Christmas holidays.
How do artificial hearts work?
An artificial heart only offers a temporary solution, and Ramjankhan says the long-term effects and efficacy of the prosthesis are still being investigated. The artificial heart was developed in France, with the first human transplant taking place eight years ago.
This life-saving treatment doesn’t come cheap – the heart costs a whopping 210.000 euros. Luckily, the patient’s health insurance helped cover the costs.