Initial experience with the AbioCor implantable replacement heart at the University of Louisville

Robert D. Dowling, Steven W. Etoch, Karla Stevens, Art Butterfield, Steven E. Koenig, Amy Johnson, Benjamin Chiang, Laman A. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Potential benefits of heart transplantation are limited by the severe donor organ shortage. The AbioCor implantable replacement heart has been developed as a potential alternative to heart transplantation. We report our initial experience with the AbioCor in a bovine model. A right thoracotomy was performed for access to the heart and great vessels. After initiation of cardiopulmonary bypass, excision of the native ventricles was followed by orthotopic placement of the IRH and complete implantation of the transcutaneous energy transfer coil, controller, and battery pack. Invasive monitoring of IVC, SVC, carotid artery, pulmonary artery, and left atrial (LA) pressures was performed in all animals. Twelve calves have undergone implantation of the AbioCor. There were three early deaths, one from bleeding, one from respiratory failure, and one from neurodysfunction from low flow during CPB. Nine animals have had a normal recovery and survived a mean of 24.5 days (range, 4-48 days). All the animals have demonstrated excellent hemodynamics with the maintenance of normal pressures in the LA, SVC, IVC, pulmonary artery, and aorta. Adjustment of the right-sided internal hydraulic fluid shunt has allowed for control of right-left balance and, thereby, manipulation of left and right side filling pressures. Late morbidity has consisted of neck wound infection and sepsis, pneumonia, and bleeding. Successful orthotopic implantation of all components of the AbioCor has been achieved in a bovine model. This device has demonstrated restoration of normal hemodynamics and excellent function of the atrial hydraulic shunt to achieve right-left balance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-581
Number of pages3
JournalASAIO Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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