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Tiernee finds artificial heart helps kidney problems too

Tiernee finds artificial heart helps kidney problems too

A young woman fitted with an artificial heart because of severe heart failure has found her kidney problems have improved too.

Twenty-year-old Tiernee Gonzalez became the first patient at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre in America to receive the temporary Total Artificial Heart last November.

Doctors hoped it would help her win her battle against severe heart failure. What they didn’t expect was that it would also help save her one remaining kidney.

Dr David Morales, chief of paediatric cardiothoracic surgery at the hospital, said the heart  creates the potential for liver and kidney recovery. “In Tiernee’s case, what we initially defined as end-stage renal failure simply became delayed recovery thanks to the Total Artificial Heart.”

As a young girl, Tiernee (pictured above with Dr Morales) had kidney cancer and had to have one of her kidneys removed. She underwent chemotherapy which led to heart failure. In August 2006, she had a heart transplant. After suffering rejection problems, she was faced with renal failure and looking at dialysis for the rest of her life.

Doctors were also worried she would not survive the wait for another heart transplant, so they decided to implant the heart made by SynCardia.

Dr Morales said: “Now she has normal function to her kidney. This experience has made me very optimistic that many of the livers and kidneys that fail due to heart disease could be recoverable with this heart. Every time we put in this device, we learn something new.”

by CMA Manager on 25-Mar-13 12:55

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The Cardiomyopathy Association's Registered Charity Number is 803262.
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