Tuesday is a red-letter day for Alvin Marsden, the Boise businessman who was implanted with an artificial heart on April 12: He has lived as long with the plastic pump as Barney Clark did with his.
"He's equaled Barney Clark's record," said Jess Gomez, spokesman for LDS Hospital, where the surgery was performed. "He's doing very well."Clark, a retired dentist from Seattle, received the world's first artificial heart at the University of Utah Hospital in 1982. Plagued by poor circulation and other health defects, Clark died in early 1983, 112 days after the operation.
In the intervening years, the Jarvik 7 artificial heart developed at the U. was improved, and physicians became better at finding patients who are likely to survive. The CardioWest C-70 heart has been used more than 260 times.
"In the United States, a woman at the University of Arizona Medical Center . . . was on the device for 186 days before receiving a donor heart for transplantation," Gomez said. That is the record for this country.
"She now lives a fully normal life."
Meanwhile, Marsden is "anxious for a donor heart so he can be transplanted and he can go home," Gomez said.