The implants are part of an FDA-approved pilot trial (feasibility study) involving 10 patients at five hospitals across the US.
Principal investigator Dr Bartley Griffith, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center said a second patient had received the VentrAssist left ventricular assist system (LVAS) last week.
Dr Griffith said: "It (VentrAssist) functions in a way no other pump does. The VentrAssist pumps the same volume of blood as larger pumps, but its small size takes up very little space in the abdomen, potentially making it useful for smaller adults, and even children". Dr Griffith added he thought the surgery had been "another step toward providing the perfect heart pump".
Co-principal investigator, Dr Erika Feller, an assistant professor of medicine and cardiologist at the center, said the surgery was "not as tough on patients as with other devices.
"End-stage heart failure is a growing problem, especially among patients who don't qualify for a heart transplant," she said.
At the same time, the first US patient to receive a VentrAssist smiled and gave a thumbs-up to the Australian-designed blood pump at a hospital media conference on Friday.
"I feel absolutely marvelous," said the 40-year old Baltimore man adding "I'm almost back to my old self."
The patient told the media conference he was looking forward to going back to work and was planning a honeymoon to Las Vegas. He said he was just two days away from making the trip when he became sick.
The VentrAssist has now been implanted in more than 30 patients globally. Other leading hospitals to take part in the VentrAssist US study include the Cleveland Clinic, Columbia University, the University of Minnesota and the Universit
Contact: Andrew Geddes