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This time, his heart is real

A man who last month became the first person in the country to go home on an artificial heart now has a real one.

He underwent a six-hour transplant Friday at University Medical Center, where he was in critical condition, but stable, on Sunday.

The man, who asked the hospital not to release his name, received a portable artificial heart on April 10 and was discharged on June 12. He returned four days later with a fever and stayed.

The device _ called the Novacor _ is attached to the diseased heart to assist the lower left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber. It is connected to a pump implanted in the abdominal cavity and powered by a battery pack worn around the waist.

The hospital is one of about six transplant centers to use the experimental device.

While Novacor patients at other centers have been discharged to residential buildings on hospital grounds, the UMC patient was the first in the country to return home to await a matching donor heart, hospital officials said.