In March 2011, Craig Lewis, a 55-year-old man suffering from a life threatening heart problem, was admitted to the Texas […]
Fortunately, Dr. Billy Cohn and Dr. Bud Frazier from the Institute came up with what they call a “continuous flow” device which would allow blood to circulate throughout his body without a pulse. They removed Mr Lewis’ heart and then installed the device, and their patient was up, well, and speaking with physicians the very same day.
Dr. Cohn is a veteran surgeon, as well as an inventor and researcher who has spent much of his life developing technologies to replace or repair the human heart, the most notable being the Left Ventricular Assist Device, also known as LVADs.
Cohn teamed up with Dr. Frazier to develop a new invention that uses the technology from LVADs to replicate the functions of the heart’s right and left ventricles. They tested their device on 70 calves, all of whom produced a flat line on an EKG — no heart rate or pulse — yet they were otherwise perfectly normal, eating food and interacting with each other as they usually would.
As mentioned above, Craig Lewis was the first human to receive this technology. The procedure took less than 48 hours and was a great success. However, his kidneys and liver were not so lucky. They were failing him, and after a few months his family asked the doctors to unplug the device.
Below is a video titled Heart Stop Beating. It’s the story of these two doctors and the process they had to go through to replace this man’s dying heart with a continuous flow device.