TUCSON — Doctors on Sunday implanted a second artificial heart into a woman whose transplanted human heart failed hours earlier, apparently making her the first person to receive two of the devices, hospital officials said.
The mini-Jarvik implanted in Bernadette Chayrez, 40, during emergency surgery on Sunday was not the same one that kept her alive for four days until it was replaced with a human heart on Friday, said Nina Trasoff, spokeswoman for University Medical Center.
Chayrez had been improving Saturday from surgery for bleeding problems when "serious problems developed suddenly," Trasoff said.
Head surgeon Jack Copeland and the family made the decision to go ahead with the second Jarvik implant "after it had become apparent her transplanted heart would not support her," she said.
"It was extremely sudden," Trasoff said. She did not know if the Food and Drug Administration had approved Sunday's implant.
"To our knowledge, this is the first time a person has been implanted with a second Jarvik," she said.
Chayrez received her first artificial heart on Monday as a stopgap measure to replace her own failing heart. The human-heart transplant four days later was done ahead of schedule because of problems with internal bleeding, doctors said.