Replacement of the Left-Side Valves of an Implanted Total Artificial Heart
The MagScrew total artificial heart (TAH) is under development. Despite its anticipated durability and reliability, the possibility of a bioprosthetic valve malfunction exists. As a result, the potential for valve replacement surgery, instead of device replacement, would be desirable after a TAH implant. In two of our 90-day animal experiments, we successfully replaced the left-side valves through a left thoracotomy opposite to the right-sided incision site for the initial TAH implant. The results of these cases suggest that the left-side valves could also be replaced through a left thoracotomy approach in humans. To confirm the ability to access the left-side valves in humans, four human cadaver studies were performed with the use of a mock pump designed for human application. This report describes the operative techniques for left-side valve replacement in animals and discusses the advantages of a left thoracotomy in clinical situations, based on results from the human cadaver studies.