Man With Double Hearts Got Double Heart Attacks

There's something unusual about the X-ray above of a man who went to an Italian hospital's emergency room: he had two hearts, and he got double heart attacks!

It turned out that a few years earlier, the man had undergone a procedure known as a heterotopic heart transplant. Unlike an orthotopic transplant, in which one organ is removed and another put in its place, a heterotopic transplant pairs a new organ with a diseased one. [...]

In the case of the ailing Italian, reported in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, the transplant team had mated his new heart with his malfunctioning old one. Chambers and blood vessels of the two hearts were married so that the new heart could support the old one.

But there’s a risk, explained Vukmir. “You can develop two independent heart rhythms, especially in a scenario where one heart gets a little better,” he said.


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