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La Fe hospital's mechanical heart saves a man with a fortnight to live
23 February 2015 @ 10:27

A VALENCIA hospital has 'cured' a father's deadly heart condition, which had left him with less than a fortnight to live, by fitting a 'robot' organ.

The city's La Fe centre, one of Spain's – and Europe's – leaders in pioneering research and treatment told the retired shoe-maker from Elda (Alicante province) that he could only be saved by a heart transplant, but there was no chance of his surviving this because his illness was too far gone.

Also, the waiting list was far longer than his life expectancy.

José Sarabia, 67, had ischaemic heart failure, a condition caused by the gradual closure of main arteries to the organ, is normally diagnosed after the patient complains of constant breathlessness, and very gradually deteriorates over years or decades.

Whilst patients treated initially – often with 'stents' fitted to widen the arteries – can generally lead a normal life in the beginning provided they do not exert themselves or lift heavy objects and are regularly checked and medicated, but the person's ability to exert him or herself gradually reduces over the years.

Sr Sarabia had got to the stage where he was not even able to walk or eat without gasping for breath and had been forced to retire due to his heart problems.

By mid-January this year, the slightest movement left him totally breathless, and medics told him he would be lucky to live another fortnight.


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