Saturday, June 09, 2012

A man lives without a heart

Surgeons from IKEM in Prague, the Czech Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, have done something that no other doctors had successfuly done before. reports (automatic translation, includes a picture of the patient and the doctor, 64-year-old conservative Dr Jan Pirk)

China Daily (in English)
This challenge was previously attempted in Texas but their patient had died a week later.

As you can see on the picture above, the Czech patient, 37-year-old firefighter Mr Jakub [James] Halík of the town of NeRathovice, seems to be in a better shape two months after the April 3rd surgery which took 8 hours and 15 minutes and which was covered by the health insurance company. He's training (leg press etc.) so that he may return to his job – after 2 months of relaxing in which his legs got weaker – and, if things work out well, he will be sent as an athlete to Olympic Games in London. A possibility is a future transplantation of a biological heart.

The two artificial pumps called Heart Mate II – he needs two because there are two different pressures at which the halves of the heart operate and this had to be adjusted rather accurately (not to speak about the right synchronization) – that replaced the organ don't respect any regular rhythms: this guy has no pulse. I guess it's not needed and a pulse-free circulation may actually have many advantages.

Heart Mate II, the same device they had used in Texas, has been employed as a true "mate of the heart" i.e. a gadget that works simultaneously, in tandem with the biological heart many times before. For the first time, the machine has acquired a monopoly over its job. Image and product by Thoratec Corporation

The patient has to carry a backpack with batteries at all times; it's still more convenient than to carry a biological heart with an aggressive malignant tumor (rare for hearts!) he used to possess. Dr Pirk – who used the methodology and tools from Texas, just being careful that it's done right – is the same cardiovascular surgeon who transplanted a new heart into the body of Mr Juraj Jakubisko, a well-known Slovak (and, indirectly, Czech) film director, just weeks ago (not to mention 200+ other people helped by Dr Pirk before). Jakubisko was sent an amusing letter from President Klaus about the spare parts of old enough film directors that sometimes have to be replaced. 74-year-old Jakubisko (whom I vaguely met during a few Xmas parties organized by Klaus) became the oldest guy in Czechia who was implanted a new heart.

Dr Jan Pirk is addicted to bow ties and daily running. He likes alcoholic beverages before he goes to the bed and considers beer to be the best ion beverage. See some Czech videos on YouTube.

As I mentioned, no people have managed to survive without a biological heart before. However, this thing was achieved in the case of other organs such as brains. Thousands of brainless survivors will gather in Rio de Janeiro on June 20th, for example. Many other (and sometimes the same) politicians and other people easily survive in their jobs without any balls and spineless, too.

The artificial heart seems to work in two modes when it comes to the flow rate: fixed and automatic. I wonder whether the flow rate goes up if he needs more oxygen and energy and/or whether this may be made automatic as well, by an emulation of the natural biological mechanisms. Just one thing is almost certain: this guy won't be "a guy who has no heart [love and emotions]" because love and emotions aren't really located in the heart. ;-)

Yesterday and today, Czechs seem to be very good at taking hearts out of someone or something.

The AFP just reported that our national team's goalie whose name is also Czech, Peter Czech, took heart out of the humiliating defeat of our guys by Russia last night, 4-to-1, at the Euro 2012 championship. That's doubly painful especially because yesterday I didn't know with certainty that Russia belonged to Europe to the extent that it could play at the Euro; and that the Russians played soccer at all. ;-)

Some Dr Rath bonus.

Dr David Rath has surely been one of the guys with the smallest amount of moral restrictions – we just learned that he has impressed everyone how loudly he demanded millions of dollars in bribes before he was loudly smacking his lips while enjoying the money – but one can't question that he was one of the social democracy's most talented and charismatic personalities. He's been an amateur actor, too. This is how he attracted viewers to a central Bohemian film festival in 2011:

Criminal Dr Rath stars as criminal Dr Rath, amazing. ;-) But one year later, literally just weeks ago, he did the same for the 2012 festival. Look at the video. Dr Rath, a baroque doctor who saves a female knight, is literally likable here, isn't he? ;-) But good that he enjoys his time in the prison. Talented actors must be led to obey the law and basic morality, too.


  1. Thousands of brainless survivors will gather in Rio de Janeiro on June 20th, for example.


    He doesn't live anymore. Pirk had his 5 minutes of fame, it has cost a lot, the patient has suffered a lot. Unethical crooks like Pirk are able to experiment on people if that brings them a little fame.

  3. Come on, Mephisto, this is just bullshit.

    Pirk's achievement is great. The previous world record for survival with the pumps instead of a heart only was 1 week, it was multiplied 25 times to half a year. If one multiplies it by 25 again, you get 12.5 years. And that's a little bit away from having a full long life with this technology.
    It's surely a path to develop. Moreover, next patients of this sort may be more lucky and get a transplant before it's too late.
    RIP, Mr Jakub Halik, and condolences as well as admiration to Dr Pirk. He is picked as the heart surgeon by the celebrities for a pretty good reason.