On Tuesday, Portuguese Health Minister Adalberto Campos Fernandes announced that the first ever artificial heart transplant had been carried out on a patient in Portugal.
The Minister made the announcement during a health
conference in Lisbon, and considered the surgery a pioneering step in national medicine as well as an example of modernisation within the National Health Service.
The transplant took place at Lisbon’s Santa Marta Hospital on Monday.
Speaking to radio station TSF, José Fragata, the surgeon responsible for the intervention, explained that the artificial heart can be compared to a mobile phone due to its need to be charged regularly with an electrical current.
“It is an internal pump placed besides the heart which is controlled externally via a cable which comes out of the skin and is connected to batteries. It is complex and expensive technology.”
The heart lasts for 17 hours before it needs recharging.
Professor Fragata said it was a “privilege” but also a huge responsibility to have carried out the transplant.