New Video Series Spotlights Role of Biomedical Engineers in Caring for Total Artificial Heart Patients

Series Encourages Math & Science Classes for High School Students as Gateways to High-Tech Careers

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It's probably the most extreme job I can imagine because we have people's lives in our hands

Tucson, Ariz. (Vocus) May 29, 2009

When caring for patients with a SynCardia temporary CardioWestâ„¢ Total Artificial Heart, the role of the biomedical engineer is as important as the surgeon, physician or nurse. This high-tech career impacts the lives of many and is the subject of a new video series that debuted this month.

The series was launched as part of a new educational web site called "Explore Your Future," which allows high school students to explore nearly 200 career opportunities. The web site focuses on the importance of math and science classes as gateways to exciting, high-tech careers.

Episode 1: Artificial Heart Science - This episode spotlights biomedical engineer Richard Smith, CCE, MSEE, the director of the Artificial Heart Program at University Medical Center (UMC) in Tucson, Ariz. When Smith went to college, biomedical engineers weren't part of the operating room team. However, his background in science and math got him into the operating room in 1985, when he helped implant the first Total Artificial Heart used as a bridge-to-transplant. Today, it is the only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved temporary Total Artificial Heart in the world. There have been more 790 implants, and surgical teams look to Smith to be the expert on the Total Artificial Heart and other heart devices.

Episode 2: Biomedical Engineering - "It's probably the most extreme job I can imagine because we have people's lives in our hands," says Tara, a biomedical engineer who works for Smith at UMC. In this episode, viewers meet two young biomedical engineers, Tara and Dominic, who become so close with their patients they say they feel like part of the family.

Heart Science (Extended Version) - This episode combines footage from Episodes 1 & 2, as well as Episode 3: Medical Imaging. It also includes additional interview footage with Smith, Tara, Dominic and Total Artificial Heart patient Vanessa Cirillo.

The episodes can be viewed at http://www.exploreyourfuture.org/watch.php.

Originally designed as a permanent replacement heart, the Total Artificial Heart is currently approved as a bridge to human heart transplant for patients 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.

The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is the first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE Mark approved Total Artificial Heart in the world. There have been more than 790 implants of the Total Artificial Heart, accounting for more than 160 patient years of life on the device.

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

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