BERLIN, August 6 /PRNewswire/ -- A 64-year-old man from France is the patient with the longest support time worldwide by the implantable heart support system INCOR(R). For five years already the Frenchman has been living with the system.

In August 2003, the then 59-year-old Jean-Pierre Offe was suffering from end-stage heart failure. Poor blood circulation in the heart muscle and two heart attacks had weakened his heart so severely it could no longer supply his body with enough blood. For medical reasons Mr. Offe was not eligible for heart transplantation, but desperately needed support for his failing heart.

As an alternative to heart transplantation, Mr. Offe's doctors at the university hospital CHU Henri Mondor in Paris-Créteil, France, decided to implant a mechanical heart support system. They chose the implantable INCOR heart support system from Berlin Heart. Professor Daniel Loisance, head of the cardiac surgery department, led the implantation. He says about INCOR: "We decided to use INCOR because the system is ideally suited for long-term support and easily fits into the everyday life of the patient. For patients waiting for a heart transplant or needing life-time support, these are essential criteria."

The reason why INCOR is so well suited for long-term support lies in its design and operating principle. The axial impeller, the only moving part within the pump, is magnetically levitated and therefore completely free from wear and tear. "With this patent-protected technology, the pump is worldwide unique," says Dr. Johannes Mueller, General Manager of Berlin Heart.

After the implantation Mr. Offe recovered well and was discharged from the hospital after three weeks. He returns to the hospital for routine check-ups only once every three months. In the meantime Mr. Offe has retired and enjoys life with his wife, four children, and seven grandchildren. Describing his life with the system, he says: "Before I received the INCOR heart support system, I was in a very bad condition and had poor chances of survival. Since the implantation, I am feeling so much better. I am coping very well with the system, I can go shopping, I can work in the garden, and I even was able to visit Berlin for vacation with my wife."

Berlin Heart had invited Mr. and Mrs. Offe to come to Berlin for this special anniversary. They visited the company and gained insight into the development, production and quality standards of the high-tech pump. Mr. Offe was especially impressed by how many production steps are done by hand. "It gives me a good feeling to know how much work goes into producing these systems and how strict the quality is controlled. This visit made me trust my pump even more."

About heart failure and heart support systems

Heart failure is the leading cause of death in Europe and USA. End-stage heart failure is not controllable by medication, and patients suffering from it need a heart transplant. As donor hearts are rare and the waiting time is long, more and more patients are supported with a mechanical heart support system until heart transplantation. Mechanical heart support systems are also used to provide life-time support for patients who are not eligible for heart transplantation.

About INCOR(R)

INCOR is an implantable heart support system for the left chamber of the heart in adult patients. The axial impeller is magnetically levitated and hence completely free from wear and tear. The pump is implanted just beneath the heart and connects with cannulas to the left chamber and the aorta. It is driven by an external control unit and two accumulator batteries that are connected via a cable with the pump. These external components fit into a carrier bag and allow the patient up to eight hours of mobility.

Since June 2002 the pump has been implanted in 41 centers in 16 mainly European countries. In the meantime more than 400 patients have been supported by the pump, some for several years.

About Berlin Heart

Berlin Heart is the only company worldwide that develops, manufactures and distributes implantable and external ventricular assist devices for patients of every age and body size. The systems are used to support patients with severe end-stage heart failure. INCOR and EXCOR are market leaders in their respective segments in Germany and Europe. The company is located in Berlin, and has grown to more than 180 employees after the foundation in 1996.

INCOR is not FDA approved. EXCOR is currently under clinical investigation for pediatric use in USA.

Contact and pictures: Linda Buerk Manager Marketing & PR Berlin Heart GmbH Phone: +49(0)30-8187-2650 Mobile: +49(0)173-6290803

Contact and pictures: Linda Buerk, Manager Marketing & PR, Berlin Heart GmbH, Phone: +49(0)30-8187-2650, Mobile: +49(0)173-6290803,