Healthcare: On the Agenda - Plastic heart man leaves hospital

In a nutshell

A 40-year-old man from north London has become the first person in the UK to be allowed home from hospital following the implant of a plastic heart. Matthew Green had been critically ill, suffering from heart failure, before surgeons replaced his heart with the device.

- What is an artificial heart?

Following a six-hour operation carried out by surgeons at Cambridge's Papworth Hospital on 9 June, Green's damaged heart was replaced with a Total Artificial Heart. The device operates by using a special backpack power unit rather than the fixed machines that are normally used to power implants in hospitals. Similar to a heart transplant, the plastic heart replaces both failing ventricles and the heart valves.

- PR strategy

The media outreach for the story was handled by Papworth Hospital's in-house comms team. As part of the PR strategy to secure coverage, the media were invited to a press conference held at the hospital that was attended by the hospital's surgical team and supported by a media pack including animations, graphics and photographs.

- Media coverage

The story captured the attention of the international media. In the UK, it was included in national broadcast bulletins throughout the day on 2 August and was featured in a number of national papers. Broadcast highlights included BBC Radio 4's Today programme and ITN News. In print, the story featured in The Times (page 15), The Guardian (page 3) and The Daily Telegraph (page 4).

9.5 - The number of litres of blood per minute that is circulated by the TAH

13.5 - The weight in pounds of the backpack power unit

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