Stillwater News Press

September 29, 2010

Oklahoman gains 418-pound external heart

By Trevor Brown
CNHI News Service

OKLAHOMA CITY — To say Troy Golden has a big heart would be an understatement.

Golden's 418-pound external Total Artificial Heart now powers his cardiovascular. Golden under went a pioneering surgery to keep the Geary, Okla., resident alive.

Golden's ailing heart was removed earlier this month. Now the external heart machine is the only thing keeping him alive.

Golden became the first person in the region to receive a Total Artificial Heart. The large external unit, which is nicknamed “Big Blue,” replaces failing heart ventricles and four native heart valves to provide circulatory support. It is designed to sustain Golden, 45, as he waits for a donor heart.

Surgeons at INTEGRIS Health performed the procedure. Surgeons at only a dozen other hospitals have done the same.

Dr. Doug Horstmanshof, co-director of Advanced Cardiac Care Program at the hospital, said the new technique provides new hope to severely ill patients who are waiting on the selective donor list.

“With only 2,000 (heart) transplants available, and when someone is getting as sick as (Golden) is, this technology can provide them the time until a donor heart is located,” he said.

The transplant achievement is just one of many in the state during the past several decades. Dr. Nazhi Zuhdi performed the state’s first heart transplant in 1985. And later in the 1980s, Laverne resident Terri Lenz was one of the earliest patients to successfully receive a heart-lung transplant.