World Renowned Total Artificial Heart Pioneer Dr. Jack Copeland Joins Faculty at UC San Diego

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Acclaimed Heart Surgeon Made World’s Only Approved Total Artificial Heart a Reality

“I will miss my patients. They have been some of the sickest and bravest souls I have ever seen.”

I now have the same feeling about UCSD… but I will miss my patients. They have been some of the sickest and bravest souls I have ever seen.

On July 1, Total Artificial Heart pioneer and world renowned heart surgeon, Dr. Jack Copeland, will join the faculty at the new $227 million Sulpizio Family Cardiovascular Center at the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla.

“If it weren’t for Dr. Copeland’s decades of work, the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart would not be the world’s only approved Total Artificial Heart today,” said Rodger Ford, CEO of SynCardia Systems, Inc., manufacturer of the Total Artificial Heart. “Dr. Copeland’s tireless efforts helped make the Total Artificial Heart the world’s most successful bridge to transplant device. He has and will continue to play a vital role in training new SynCardia Certified Centers, proctoring their first implants and improving patient outcomes.”

Dr. Copeland made medical history in 1979 when he performed Arizona’s first heart transplant, and again in 1985, when he became the first surgeon to successfully use the Jarvik 7 artificial heart as a temporary bridge to transplant. The first five implants of this artificial heart had been for permanent use only.

Dr. Copeland’s numerous contributions to the Total Artificial Heart include advancing surgical technique, patient care protocols and anticoagulation (blood management), and serving as the Principal Investigator of the 10-year pivotal clinical study of the Total Artificial Heart. This clinical study produced the highest bridge to transplant rate, 79%, of all approved mechanical circulatory support devices today, and resulted in FDA approval of the Total Artificial Heart in October 2004.

Dr. Copeland is a founder and past president of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT). Besides his pioneering work with the Total Artificial Heart, Dr. Copeland also performed Arizona's first heart-lung transplant in 1985 and the first U.S. implant of a pediatric ventricular assist device designed for newborns and small children.

“I came to Arizona because it was a welcoming environment in which I could try new things that would benefit patients,” said Dr. Copeland, who has performed more than 100 implants of the Total Artificial Heart. “I now have the same feeling about UCSD… but I will miss my patients. They have been some of the sickest and bravest souls I have ever seen.”

About SynCardia Systems, Inc.

SynCardia Systems, Inc. is the Tucson-based manufacturer of the world’s only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart: the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart. There have been more than 850 implants of the Total Artificial Heart, accounting for more than 190 patient years of life on the device.

Originally used as a permanent replacement heart, the Total Artificial Heart is currently approved as a bridge to human heart transplant for people dying from end-stage biventricular failure. The Total Artificial Heart is the only device that provides immediate, safe blood flow of up to 9.5 L/min through both ventricles.

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Media Contact:
Don Isaacs
Vice President of Communications
SynCardia Systems, Inc.
Cell: (520) 955-0660

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