First patient to get electric heart dies

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The Independent Online
A 64-year-old man who was the first patient in the world to receive a permanent electric heart, has died, less than 36 hours after it was removed from his body.

Tests had shown that Abel Goodman's own heart had made a "remarkable recovery" since the operation to implant the heart in October 1995, and surgeons decided to remove the battery-powered mechanical device in a five-hour operation on Saturday because of concern about localised bleeding.

Mr Goodman, who suffered from heart failure, died yesterday after developing a "sudden and unpredictable" change in heart rhythm and could not be resuscitated, the John Radcliffe Hospital, in Oxford, said.

Stephen Westaby, the heart surgeon who operated on Mr Goodman, said: "Mr Goodman had progressed well over the 24 hours since the operation to remove the mechanical heart. The mechanical heart was removed after a remarkable recovery to Mr Goodman's own heart with bleeding around the device becoming a cause for concern."

Mr Goodman's operation had offered new hope to thousands of people with heart disease who are on the transplant waiting list. Until recently, mechanical hearts were intended only as a bridge to maintain patients until a donor organ became available.