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URMC docs perform area's first artificial heart transplant

Rochester Business Journal
April 11, 2012

Physicians at the University of Rochester Medical Center have performed the first transplant of a completely artificial heart in the region this month, the center’s officials announced Wednesday.

The patient received a SynCardia temporary total artificial heart on April 4 in a procedure performed by a team of cardiac surgeons and physicians from the URMC artificial heart program. It was the first procedure of its kind in Upstate New York, URMC officials said.

URMC is one of 30 sites in the country to offer the technology, and one of two in New York along with Columbia-New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.

“This is tremendous technology that can have a dramatic effect on patients who are experiencing advanced heart failure,” said Todd Massey M.D., surgical director of the URMC artificial heart program who led the surgery. “For this patient, it was the only option to keep him alive until a donor heart could become available.”
The total artificial heart is a bridge to transplant for patients with end-stage biventricular heart failure, a condition in which both sides of the heart become weakened and cannot pump blood adequately throughout the body, URMC officials said. More than 1,000 have been used in patients worldwide to date.

The patient, Gaetano Orlando, is a retired hockey player who spent time with the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans and represented the Italian national team in the 1994 and 1998 Olympics.   

(c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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