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Last Updated: Monday, 3 December 2007, 15:48 GMT
Artificial heart man dies aged 68
Peter Houghton
Peter Houghton had the artificial heart fitted in June 2000
The first man in the world to be fitted with a permanent artificial heart has died at the age of 68.

Peter Houghton, from Edgbaston, Birmingham, was fitted with the artificial pump in June 2000.

Before the operation he had been given only weeks to live as his own heart was working at 10% of normal capacity.

Surgeons were initially unsure if the pump would be able to prolong his life. He died on 25 November at Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital.

The cause of death was given as multiple organ failure.

'Extra time'

After his operation Mr Houghton helped raise awareness of the treatment by taking part in charity walks.

He was also involved in helping start research into using the method on children.

The Jarvik 2000
The Jarvik 2000 could be used permanently by patients

His friend and fellow fundraiser at Heart Research UK, John Lloyd, said: "I think he shocked everyone really.

"When he had the operation it was touch-and-go whether he was going to get through it as there were several complications.

"Before he had even had the last rites and said goodbye to his friends and family.

"He called the last seven years his 'extra time' and really made the most of it by showing people what a difference it had made to him and what the treatment could do for others."

Wire through skull

The revolutionary pump which was given to Mr Houghton, the Jarvik 2000, used a turbine to increase the power of each heartbeat.

It sat alongside the chamber of the heart which pumps blood around the body.

The device was powered by an external battery linked by a wire through the skull.

Mr Houghton had to undergo a 14-hour operation at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford to have it fitted.

The devices replaced previous versions which were too large to be attached to a patient for longer than a few months.

They had only been used as a short-term measure to keep desperately ill patients alive until a transplant organ could be found.



SEE ALSO
The transplantation heartache
03 Dec 07 |  Cambridgeshire
Heart pump man thriving
27 Jun 01 |  Health

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