Kentucky man implanted with artificial heart dies

Friday, November 5th 2004, 11:15 am
By: News On 6

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ A man who lived more than five months with an artificial heart has died of multiple organ failure, the heart manufacturer said Friday.

William Wiley, 73, was the 14th recipient of the softball-sized AbioCor artificial heart, which is made of plastic and titanium and powered by batteries.

When he received the device at Jewish Hospital in May, Wiley probably had less than two weeks to live without the implant, said Andrea tenBroek, spokeswoman for Abiomed Inc., the Danvers, Mass.-based company that makes the device.

AbioMed has said it hopes to begin marketing the AbioCor on a limited basis next year. The company filed a request for a so-called ``humanitarian device'' exemption from the Food and Drug Administration to begin limited commercial sales.

Of the 14 patients who received the heart in a more than 3-year-old trial, one died because of a malfunction in the device and 13 other deaths were attributed to natural causes or, in one case, to a worn-out membrane in the device, a failure doctors foresaw.

The company has identified the malfunction that led to the last patient's death and it did not require changes to the device, tenBroek said.

Abiomed hopes to receive approval by next March, which could lead to AbioCor implants in as many as 4,000 patients each year with end-stage heart failure, tenBroek said.