British man survives artificial heart transplant

A 40-year-old man from the United Kingdom has survived an operation in which he was given a wholly artificial heart. It is believed that this is the first time in the UK that a patient has been able to return home with such an implant.

File photo of an artificial heart Image: JNakashima.

Matthew Green, a father of one, experienced the operation in Papworth Hospital, located in Cambridgeshire, England. His health has declined over the last few years, and he has suffered a substantial heart disorder, identified as arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD). He is waiting to have a human heart implanted. The disease would have claimed his life had the plastic heart operation not occurred. Approximately nine hundred operations of this nature have already taken place worldwide.

Having survived the transplant, Green stated that the plastic heart will “revolutionise” his life. “Before I couldn’t walk anywhere,” commented Green. He described his ability “to be with normal people again” as “fantastic”. Having the opportunity to live a relatively regular life “means the world” to Green.

Providing a nine-and-a-half litre blood flow at its peak, the plastic heart can provide roughly twice that of a resting human body. The artificial heart was implanted last June in a six-hour operation. Unlike other false hearts, Green’s heart is powered by a pump that can be transported in a handheld bag.

United Kingdom

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France calls on Libyan leader to step down

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has stated during a news conference that Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi “must leave,” calling the leader to step down. His comments were made during a press conference with the Turkish president Abdullah Gül in Ankara. Sarkozy also stated that military action to remove Gaddafi isn’t ruled out.

“Our stance is clear. Mr Gaddafi must go. The systematic violence against the Libyan people is unacceptable and will be the subject of investigations and sanctions. Regarding a military intervention … France would consider any initiative of this type with extreme caution and reserve,” said Sarkozy. The United Kingdom is also calling for an arms embargo along with an investigation into war crimes be conducted against Gaddafi.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Sarkozy’s call on Gaddafi to step down comes after violence on Friday alone has left at least five people dead in Tripoli, the capitol of Libya, when security personnel fired on demonstrators. At least 500 people are suspected to have been killed in Tripoli with over 2,000 injured. Gunshots were heard in several parts of the city on Friday. Navi Pillay, head of the human rights division of the United Nations says thousands in Libya could have been killed since the uprising began. Human Rights Watch puts the death toll at 300.

“We think this needs to be brought to the International Criminal Court. We also think that people who still cooperate with Gadhafi should be punished,” added Sarkozy.

Reports say security forces loyal to Gaddafi have used rocket propelled grenades, snipers, anti aircraft guns and foreign mercenaries to repel protesters. Gaddafi blames Osama bin laden and people on hallucinogenic drugs for the mass protests in the country. “(The protesters’) ages are 17. They give them pills at night, they put hallucinatory pills in their drinks, their milk, their coffee, their Nescafe,” he said on Thursday.

In a speech that aired on Libyan State TV today, Gaddafi said to supporters in Green Square in Tripoli, “We can defeat any aggression if necessary and arm the people. Prepare to defend the nation and defend the oil. [We can] retaliate against them [the opposition]. You, the youth, be comfortable… dance, sing, stay up all night.”

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