A surgical team at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas successfully performed a heart transplant on a patient being kept alive with a total artificial heart.
The artificial heart is a portable device that pumps blood throughout the body when both sides of the human heart fail.
Bryan Tyo suffered a "widow maker" heart attack while working out back in January.
"Everyone knows the warning signs of a heart attack. I didn't have any of those signs. I just didn't feel right," said Tyo.
His heart had failed and he needed a new one, however, doctors deemed he was too sick to be on the heart transplant list.
Their only option was to replace Tyo's failing heart with an artificial heart that would enable him to be on the transplant list, as well as keep him alive until he received a donor heart.
The procedure is rare, according to Dr. Shelly Hall, chief of transplant cardiology at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.
"You go in preparing the team and family for worse and you hope for the best, and luckily he [Bryan] exceeded everyone's expectations and did great," said Hall.
Cardiac surgeon Dr. Themis Chamogeorgakis implanted the artificial heart.
“It’s a rare procedure. A small percentage of heart patients require this procedure," said Chamogeorgakis. “These are two artificial ventricles. When we do the operation we leave the right and left atria in place and we connect the artificial ventricle to the corresponding atria."
Tyo is the first patient in North Texas to use a SynCardia Total Artificial Heart Freedom driver. It's a 13.5 pound portable unit that powered his artificial heart.
He lived with an artificial heart for about two months, until he received a donor heart Feb. 29.
"If I was writing a book about this journey, it would be part medical mystery, part sci-fi because of the technology to wake a man up and say you have an artificial heart," said Tyo.