A 37-year-old Czechoslovakian man, Jakub Halik, who had no "heart" has died. Jakub who was a father of one, needed to have his heart removed when an aggressive cancer was discovered. The cancer treatment meant that he could not receive a new heart as soon as one was available. Instead he had to wait until the cancer was successfully treat before a heart transplant was even considered.
Mr Halik who was a firefighter had of course to have some sort of heart in order to live. He was fitted with a pioneering mechanical heart around six months ago.
In some ways Jakub was able to lead a fairly normal life once he had the mechanical heart fitted. He could exercise and move around. He did always have to ensure that he carried a necessary battery charger with him though.
The extreme surgery was undertaken at a hospital in Prague. One other heart patient in the USA had previously received a mechanical heart but he only lived one week following the surgery.
In the end it is claimed that in the case of Halik it was not his mechanical heart that let him down. Medical professionals maintain that he died due to liver failure.
For Mr Halik this treatment, though excessive, probably extended his life by months. When the first heart transplants were performed many years ago patients did not survive for more than a few days and then a few months. In 2012 they have a much better prognosis. Mr Halik was on a waiting list to receive a heart when he sadly died.
Remember to carry donor cards if you feel comfortable doing so. What you will no longer need in death could be a lifesaver for a sick but living person.
Look on the organ Donor site in the US or search for the one which pertains to your country. The US site says:
Note: Some ethnic groups have a greater incidence of certain health conditions which may need a transplant.