In February of 2012, Jim Carelli, Jr. became the first person in New England to have an artificial heart implanted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in a 10-hour procedure. In 2011, Mr. Carelli was diagnosed with amyloidosis of the heart, a rare disease in which a protein that normally circulates in the blood is deposited in the heart muscle, causing the heart to thicken and weaken, limiting circulation and vital organs begin to fail.
With his health deteriorating, Mr. Carelli needed heart transplant. But donor hearts in New England are scarce, wait times average around nine months and Mr. Carelli could not wait. Facing this, doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital decided to remove his diseased heart and replace it with a mechanical one – a total artificial heart. Just like a human heart, the device would pump Jim’s blood throughout his body and keep him alive until a donor heart became available.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital is recognized as a world leader in cardiac care and research. Our cardiac surgeons and cardiologists routinely provide patients with the safest, state-of-the-art, highest-quality, and most innovative care. The opening of the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center in 2008 provides seamless, coordinated cardiovascular care in a technologically advanced environment. The building was designed for enhanced patient and family comfort and convenience and its operating rooms support both interventional and surgical procedures – allowing surgeons, interventional cardiologists and radiologists to perform multiple procedures simultaneously.
Notable cardiac firsts at Brigham and Women’s include:
- The first total artificial heart implantation in New England in February 2012
- The first heart transplant in New England in 1984 with more than 600 performed to date
- The first successful heart valve surgery in the world in 1924
- The first left ventricular assist device as a bridge to transplant in New England in 1991
- The first heart-lung transplant in Massachusetts in 1992
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This page was last modified on 10/15/2012