Initially there was a public outcry as being an unethical procedure, Dr. Denton A. Cooley, from Houston, Texas performed the first “total artificial heart implant” in the world, on April 4, 1969, 42 years ago at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston.
The artificial heart device, developed by Dr. Domingo Liotta, was implanted into a 47-year-old patient with incidence of severe heart failure. The recipient, Haskell Karp, lived for sixty-four hours with the artificial heart until a human heart was available for transplant.
Unfortunately, the story did not end up with a happy ending for Haskell Karp, because he died less than two days after he received his new human heart.
This experience demonstrated the viability of artificial hearts as a bridge to transplant in cardiac patients. Dr. Domingo S. Liotta together with Dr. Denton A. Coley developed the clinical Total Artificial Heart at Baylor University and in the Texas Heart Institute and after formally starting its clinical applications in 1969.
Dr. Domingo Liotta created an artificial heart to be used in a patient, who had irreversible cardiogenic shock post-cardiology or in irreversible ‘stone heart’. Dr. Domingo Liotta resumed his work on Total Artificial Heart (TAH) at Baylor University College of Medicine in July 1968.
The decisive objective was to prolong a patient’s life by means of a mechanical heart until the implant of a donor human heart could definitively replace the artificial system. The procedure is now, called two-staged cardiac transplantation.
After 48 years, Dr. Denton A. Cooley is still at the Texas Heart Institute that he created and its clinical partner, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, have become one of the nation’s largest cardiovascular centers.
After 40 years, Professor Domingo Santo Liotta, MD is currently the Dean of Medicine, at the University of Morón, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Dr.Liotta returned home in 1971 to Argentina as Surgeon in chief of two hospitals.
From 1973 to 1996, he taught cardiac surgery for twenty-three years to Chinese Surgeons on Chinese soil or at the Italian Hospital in Argentina.
The original clinical prototype of Liotta-Cooley TAH was selected as a prominent display in the new Smithsonian Treasures of American History. In Dr. Cooley´s opinion, “this establishes it as a worthy part of human history”