Artificial heart man dies at 68

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Indy Lifestyle Online

A man who was given the world's first permanent artificial heart has died, a friend said yesterday.

Peter Houghton became the longest surviving artificial heart patient after receiving the thumb-sized pump at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford in June 2000.

Mr Houghton, from Edgbaston, Birmingham, was given just weeks to live when he decided to try the battery-powered Jarvik 2000 heart.

He died more than seven years later on November 25, aged 68, after suffering multiple organ malfunction, his friend and neighbour John Lloyd said.

Mr Lloyd, who is a regional executive for Heart Research UK, the charity that funded Mr Houghton's pioneering pump, said: "Peter was a great guy. He lived the last seven years to the full.

"Peter saw it as his extra life and he did what he could. Both Peter and I travelled to America together and did a tour around the heart centres. We travelled thousands of miles."

Mr Houghton, who fostered children with his wife Diane, was heavily involved in charity work, particularly concerning the artificial heart pumps, and became the chairman of the Heart Failure Foundation, before his condition began to deteriorate a year ago.

"Peter travelled thousands of miles highlighting the work of the charity," Mr Lloyd said. "In my opinion, he would have lasted longer if he had not tried to be so active.

"He worked and did what he thought he should do. He had been given an opportunity and he wanted to make sure other people could get the opportunity as well."