Ochsner Implants 1st Total Artificial Heart in Father of 5

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Forty-one-year old Baton Rouge native Alfred Williams didn’t think he would get a second chance at life. At death’s door, he underwent a groundbreaking procedure at the John Ochsner Heart & Vascular Institute (JOHVI) at Ochsner Medical Center, becoming the first patient in the Gulf South Region to receive the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH) implant. Today, he has a new outlook on life with one goal in mind – to attend the high school graduation of his youngest daughter in May.

In December 2012, Alfred was admitted to Ochsner Medical Center and he had exhausted all medical therapy options. Bedridden for months and unable to walk, Alfred was looking at hospice care as the last resort. 

“Luckily, Alfred qualified for the Total Artificial Heart,” said Hector Ventura, MD, Section Head, Heart Failure and Transplantation, Ochsner Medical Center. “This device serves as a bridge to transplant which would buy him the time he needs to rehabilitate while waiting on an organ transplant.”

Within two weeks after surgery, Alfred was out of bed and walking around the ICU.  

Nearly eight weeks later, Alfred is on the transplant list in hopes of receiving a matching donor heart and is an advocate for organ donation.

“If it wasn’t for the Ochsner team, I probably wouldn’t have made it,” explains Alfred. “They took care of me and I’m determined to get better. I have to show them love because they helped me through this fight. I thank each and every one of them who was a part of this.”

From Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, Ochsner is the only provider to offer this technology and is one of only 42 sites in the United States certified to implant the Total Artificial Heart. 

For more information visit, www.ochsner.org/TotalArtificialHeart or call 504-842-3925.

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