Prague, Nov 30 (CTK) – Prague’s Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) is the third in the world to have performed an artificial heart transplant after removing almost all of the patient’s own ailing heart, IKEM representatives told a press conference on Thursday.

The costs of the unique surgery, performed 10 days ago, will be covered by IKEM, as it was a part of a clinical study. The surgery is a breakthrough in Czech medicine, the doctors said.

They said the 58-year-patient is in a good condition and his artificial heart operates flawlessly. He has been disconnected from the ventilator a couple of days ago.

In the past eight months, the man suffered from a total heart failure and was constantly connected to supportive apparatuses and infusions.

“In view of his higher age, constantly worsening health condition and rising pulmonary hypertension, he could not undergo a heart transplant surgery, nor could a long-term heart support be implanted in his body,” IKEM Cardiac Centre chief physician Jan Pirk said.

The artificial heart was developed in France, where it was also used for the first time in 2014. It weighs 800 grammes, being three times bigger and heavier than a human heart. Its internal structure is the same, however.

It has 17 sensors permanently assessing the patient’s condition, to which the heart automatically adapts. Through the abdominal wall, a cable connects the heart with its external part including batteries and an operation unit, which the patients have to carry with them.

The first heart transplant in IKEM was performed in 1984, and a total of 1,116 of them have been completed so far, including 39 this year.