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Has Medical Science Gone Too Far? Essay

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We are entering a new era of advanced heart therapies. There are greater than 550 million people in the U.S. alone with advanced heart failure. Some of the options for heart failure include: medical management of medications, heart transplantation, and the use of mechanical heart pumps.
Patients can be listed for a heart transplant; however, lack of appropriate donors is a huge issue. In the U.S. we have a serious shortage of good heart donors. In 2010 there were greater than 4,000 patients on the heart transplant list, and only 1,900 were transplanted. The wait for a heart transplant is becoming longer and longer with the average wait time ranging from two to six years. Without newer and approved therapies for advanced heart failure, people will die while waiting on UNOS (United Network of Organ Sharing) lists.
The Syncardia Total Artificial Heart is used for biventricular failure. This simply means that both sides of the heart are not working well enough to support body functions. The circulation of the Total Artificial Heart provides increased blood flow to both the lungs and restores blood flow to the kidneys and liver (Temporary Cardio West Total Artificial Heart 1).
Some advantages of the Total Artificial Heart include: 9.5 L/min of increased blood flow through both ventricles, faster bridge-to-transplant, and it eliminates complications caused by a diseased heart, such as kidney and liver failure. (“Syncardia”) “The first Total Artificial Heart implant was performed in Richmond, Va. on April 4, 2006 by a cardiac surgery team at VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) in the Pauley Heart Center”(Lepley p.1). The major point to remember is that this is a mechanical heart that totally replaces a person’s own heart.
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...al Artificial Heart and the Mortality of Killing." Print 15 Oct. 2011.
Ferris H. Hunt S. Destination Vventricular assist devices for heart failure #205. J. Palliat Med. 2009; 12(10):956-957
"Medical Professionals | SynCardia Total Artificial Heart." SynCardia Systems, Inc. | Total Artificial Heart. Web. 13 Oct. 2011. .
"Syncardia Temporary CardioWest Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t) - P030011." U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. Web. 16 Oct. 2011. .
"VCU Medical Center Team Implants Total Artificial Heart – VCU News Center." Virginia Commonwealth University News Center. Web. 12 Oct. 2011.


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