World's first heartless human was able to live without a pulse
A man, who was dying from a heart condition and was given only 12 hours to live, was up and talking after doctors removed his heart and replaced it with a device that allowed blood to circulate in his body without a pulse.
In 2011, a 55-year-old man named Craig Lewis was suffering from amyloidosis, a rare autoimmune disease that causes a build-up of abnormal proteins and results in rapid heart, kidney and liver failure.
Dr Billy Cohn and Dr Bud Frazier, from the Texas Heart Institute, proposed the installation of a ‘continuous flow’ device that would help Lewis' blood circulation without a pulse.
The two doctors had created the device some time before and tested it on around 50 calves. They removed the animals' hearts and replaced them with the device. The calves were able to perform their daily functions- without a heart pumping blood through their bodies.
"If you listened to (the cow’s) chest with a stethoscope, you wouldn’t hear a heartbeat. If you hooked her up to an EKG, she’d be flat-lined," Dr Cohn told NPR.
Since Lewis had only a few hours left, his wife Linda gave the doctors permission to install the device in her husband's body.
The device works by supplying a continuous flow of blood through the body, using blades to move it along.
Before the device was installed, Lewis was put on a dialysis machine, a breathing machine and an external blood pump.
Linda was surprised when she listened to her husband's pulse. "I listened and it was a hum, which was amazing. He didn’t have a pulse," she said.
Sadly, Lewis' condition began to deteriorate as the disease attacked his liver and kidneys and he passed away in April 2011.
He managed to live more than a month without a pulse, with his doctors saying the pumps had worked flawlessly.