Meet The Woman Whose Heart Beats In A Backpack

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Britain's only woman to carry her heart in a backpack
Britain's only woman to carry her heart in a backpack

You may have heard about heart transplant surgery, in which a person’s heart is removed and another heart is placed. But there is a woman in Britain who is given an artificial heart instead of transplanting the heart. And the artificial heart is not inside her body but outside.

39-year-old Selva Hussain is the second person in the world who has been given this artificial heart after 6 hours of operation. She counts her every single heartbeat and rely on an artificial heart.

Selwa carries her “Heart “in a backpack: 

Britain's only woman to carry her heart in a backpack
Britain’s only woman to carry her heart in a backpack

Inside Selwa’s backpack are batteries, an electric motor and a pump that pushes air through tubes to power plastic chambers in her chest which push blood around her body.

Selva has another bag with her for back-up. If her system is ever worn out, then it is required to install back-up units within just 90 seconds. That is why her husband and a helper always live with her.

Selwa’s  story began 8 months ago when, feeling terribly breathless, she immediately drove  her car 200 yards down the road to see her family doctor in Clayhall, Essex.

Then she was sent in the world-famous Harefield Hospital. Selwa Hussain  suffered a terrible heart failure, which made surgeons remove her diseased heart. She needed a new heart but was too unwell for a transplant. So, she got a battery-powered artificial one that she sways on her back for survival wherever she travels.

How the device works:

Britain's only woman to carry her heart in a backpack
Britain’s only woman to carry her heart in a backpack

The cost of artificial heart is £86,000. The two big plastic tubes connected to the backpack enter Selva’s body through her tummy button and travel up to her chest.

They then fill two balloons inside her chest cavity with air, which work like the chambers of a real heart to push blood round Selwa’s body.

Selwa is hoping for a transplant some time. She said: “Harefield have been absolutely magnificent. Their solution allowed me to stay alive to see the New Year in with my family. For that I am eternally grateful.

The first person in the United Kingdom to have been given an artificial heart was a 50-year-old man in 2011. The operation was performed at Papworth Hospital near St Neots, Cambridgeshire.

Watch Video: Britain’s only woman to carry her heart in a backpack

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