In March of 2011, a gentleman named Craig Lewis, a 55-year-old experiencing a life threatening heart disease, named “amyloidosis”, was admitted to the Texas Heart Institute. It’s a uncommon autoimmune disease that fills inner organs with a sticky protein that roots the quick heart, kidney and liver disaster. Without instant interference Lewis would have possibly died within days.
Luckily, Dr. Billy Cohn and Dr. Bud Frazier from the Institute came up with what they call a “continuous flow” device which would let blood to circulate through his body without a pulse. They detached Mr Lewis’ heart and then connected the device -the patient was up, well and speaking with doctors the very same day.
Dr. Cohn is a expert surgeon, as well as an discoverer and scientist who has consumed a large part of his life developing technologies to substitute or repair the human heart. The most distinguished device being what is called the Left Ventricular Assist Device, also termed as LVADs.
Cohn teamed up with Dr. Bud Frazier to make a new discovery that uses the technology from LVADs to duplicate the functions of the heart’s right and left ventricles. They (inappropriately) tried their device on 70 calves, all of whom gave a flat line on an EKG, no heart rate or pulse, yet they were flawlessly normal, ate normally and related with each other normally but again, had no heartbeat.
As stated above, Craig Lewis was the first human to take this technology. The process took less than 48 hours and was a big success. His kidneys and liver were not so lucky though, they were fading him and after a few months his family asked the doctors to disconnect the device.
Below is a clip named “Heart Stop Beating.” It’s the story of these two doctors and the procedure they had to go through to substitute this man’s dying heart with a ‘continuous flow’ device.