Mid-South patient receives artificial heart

Mid-South patient receives artificial heart

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Being alive with no heartbeat. That is what one Mid-South patient can say now that they have received and artificial heart.

“I feel real good. A lot better than I have in a long time. Just getting my strength built back up,” said Brien Pidego.

Just a month ago the Mid-Southerner was on life support.

The 41-year-old has dealt with several heart issues over the years including coronary artery disease and a failed bypass surgery.

By the time he was a patient at Baptist Memorial Hospital in September, he was experiencing acute heart failure.

Given that he was not a candidate for a transplant his doctors, Dr. Martin Strueber and Dr. Rachel Harrison started thinking of what other assistance they could provide him.

Dr. Rachel Harrison said they offered a procedure that they had never done before at Baptist.

“We offered this procedure called the total artificial heart,” said Dr. Harrison.

Pedigo had a 50/50 chance of surviving.

In this procedure it essentially involves taking out the entire bottom part of the heart.

“The ventricle - the part that really beats and makes the EKG is all gone,” explained Harrison. “In its place are the two pumps. And then coming out from the pumps is where the blood flows out to the body.”

The surgery took eight hours. The EKG monitor showed no heartbeat, but Pedigo was still alive thanks to an artificial heart that will give him a better chance of getting to a point where he can be a transplant candidate.

He has hope for his future. “It’s going to be a long road but I’m ready to make it.”

The surgery’s success gives his doctors hope too.

“This having been my first one, seeing it for the first time and seeing the results is really powerful. It gives me hope for the future for what we can offer here,” said Harrison.

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