Physicians Hall Front

Milwaukee man gets world’s first combined total artificial heart/pulmonary thromboendarterectomy

Combined expertise of father-son doctor team allows Froedtert & MCW to perform lifesaving procedure 

In October, 2017, 34-year-old Milwaukee resident Prince Ashford was the first person in the world to receive a combined Total Artificial Heart and Pulmonary Thromboendarterectomy (TAH/PTE). Under the care of father-son doctor team Lyle Joyce, MD, PhD, and David Joyce, MD, both professors in the Department of Surgery, along with Asim Mohammed, MD, professor in the Department of Medicine, Prince received a total artificial heart to treat his cardiomyopathy and a PTE to fix the hypertension in his lungs. The team's combined world-renowned expertise was instrumental in performing this complex operation.

Only a few centers nationwide have the expertise and capacity to perform even one of these procedures, let alone a combination of both. This case is a world-first: doctors rarely perform either of these procedures, and they have never been performed at the same time.

Before the TAH/PTE, Prince's chances of survival while waiting for the heart and lung transplants he needed were slim, and he was looking into hospice care. After his PTE procedure, however, he required only a heart transplant, making the entire process much quicker and easier.

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