Woman Who Carries Her Heart In Her Backpack

A woman in the UK lives without a heart inside her body rather effectively carries her heart in a backpack

Selwa Hussain

The heart is a muscular organ which powers your body as it supplies blood carrying oxygen and nutrients to every cell, nerve, muscle and vital organ in your body. Without the power supply, the system won’t even turn on. Your heart creates actual electoral pulses that run through your body, supplying energy to everything.

But a woman in the UK lives without it inside her body rather effectively carries her heart in a backpack. Selwa Hussain, from Ilford, east London, had her total artificial heart implanted on 27 June 2017.

Selwa is the mother of two children and was taken to Harefield Hospital, west London, in 2017 after suffering from heart failure. The “Daily Mail” reported that Salwa Hussein, aged 39, is the only one who lives like this in Britain and the second woman without a heart.

The bag that carries her heart is in her lap, its always with her with a device with two batteries weighing 6.8 kg, which is an electric motor and a pump. The batteries push the air into a plastic bag in the patient’s chest through attached tubes, for blood circulation in her body.

Selwa’s incredible story began in 2017 when, feeling terribly breathless, and she drove 200 yards down the road to see her family doctor. From there she was sent to her local hospital where she was told she was suffering from severe heart failure.

Selwa was too ill to stay alive on a support pump and her condition was getting worse very, very quickly. The only option to save her life was to implant a total artificial heart. So, her husband Al agreed to her being given an artificial heart. Selwa’s natural heart was removed by surgeons and replaced with an artificial implant and the specialist unit on her back.

The 81 lakh artificial heart – made by an American company – was fitted during a six-hour operation performed by surgeon Diana Garcia Saez, and assisted by Harefield’s head of transplantation surgery, Mr Andre Simon.

Selwa spent the following month in the hospital learning how to walk, talk, eat and drink again, and building up muscle strength her personal commitment to recovery and the expertise of the Harefield team, Selwa was able to be discharged home in time to spend Christmas with her husband and children.

Her husband Al should always be with his wife for fear that if the battery suddenly fails to work, they only have 90 seconds to replace it with a new battery. The artificial heart is able to pump blood throughout the body at a rate of 138 times every minute which keeps Selwa alive.

“Harefield has been magnificent. They managed to find a solution to my heart problem and gave me an opportunity to celebrate a new year with my family. For that, I feel very grateful,” said Selwa.

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