1st U.S. Patient Discharged from the Hospital without a Human Heart Celebrates 5th Anniversary of Going Home with the Freedom® Portable Driver

More than 220 clinically stable SynCardia Total Artificial Heart patients have received the Freedom® portable driver for over 140 patient years of support. Over 150 of these patients were discharged to recover and exercise while waiting for donor hearts.
Apr 23, 2015 3:00 PM ET

April 23, 2015 /3BL Media/ - Nearly five years ago, on May 3, 2010, Charles Okeke became the first United States patient to be discharged from the hospital without a human heart when he walked out of an Arizona heart center.

Since 2010, the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart powered by the Freedom® portable driver has supported more than 220 clinically stable patients. Over 150 patients have been discharged to recover and exercise at home and in their communities as they waited for donor hearts.

“Some patients aren’t discharged for a variety of reasons,” says Michael Garippa, CEO and President of SynCardia Systems Inc. “Some don’t have the caregiver support they need or they live more than two hours travel time from the heart center that will do their transplants. Some get a heart transplant before they have a chance to go home.”

Discharge allows Freedom® portable driver patients to get in better shape for their heart transplants while getting back to their lives. Two patients who are waiting for their matching donor hearts are getting close to four years of support on the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart powered by the Freedom® portable driver.

“Patients get to sleep in their own beds, socialize with their friends, go out to dinner, attend religious services and live a pretty normal life,” says Garippa. “Some even go on vacation, four-wheeling and do practically anything they would do with a human heart.”

Phoenix, Arizona resident Charles Okeke received the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart as a bridge to transplant on September 8, 2008, when his body was rejecting an earlier heart transplant.

Read more about Charles Okeke and the Freedom® portable driver