When Daquain Jenkins, 29, left The Mount Sinai Hospital last year, he became the first patient in the New York metropolitan area to return home to await a heart transplant with the assistance of a portable artificial heart.
The milestone was remarkable in a number of ways. First, the Total Artificial Heart, manufactured by SynCardia Systems, Inc., in Tucson, Arizona, replaces both failing heart ventricles and four heart valves, eliminating end-stage biventricular failure. It is immediately available to patients, and serves as a bridge while they await a suitable heart donor. In addition, it allows patients to move freely and manage everyday chores while wearing a backpack that stores the 13.5-pound battery-driven device.