TBT: 30 years since second artificial heart surgery at Penn State Hershey Medical Center

Thursday marks 30 years since the second heart surgery at Penn State Hershey Medical Center was performed.

On March 17, 1986, Robert Cresswell, 49, of Huntingdon received an artificial heart at Penn State, after his own heart failed and his body rejected a transplanted donor human heart.

Cresswell, a laid-off factory worker, lived for more than a year with the artificial heart before dying of a chest infection.

Officials at Penn State Hershey Medical Center say the artificial heart is a bridge apparatus, used while a patient awaits a human heart transplant.

In the 1980’s, the artificial heart was the size of a washing machine.

Thanks to advances in technology, the device is now the size of a backpack, offering mobility to recipients.

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