A 40-YEAR-OLD will become the first person in the UK to get an artificial heart and then go home.

The six-hour operation, carried out by surgeons at Papworth Hospital on June 9, replaced Matthew Green's damaged heart with a total artificial heart.

Mr Green, of London, had been critically ill as both sides of his heart were failing. The new device, used as a temporary stop-gap before transplant, provides blood flow of up to 9.5 litres per minute through the body.

It is powered by a 13.5 pound portable driver designed to be carried in a backpack or shoulder bag, and has a life expectancy of three years.

Steven Tsui, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon and director of the transplant service said: "Matthew's condition was deteriorating rapidly and we discussed with him the possibility of receiving this device, because without it he may not have survived the wait until a suitable donor heart could be found for him.

"The operation went extremely well and Matthew has made an excellent recovery. I expect him to go home very soon, being able to do a lot more than before the operation with a vastly improved quality of life, until we can find a suitable donor heart for him to have a heart transplant.

"At any point in time there may be as many as 30 people waiting for a heart transplant on our waiting list at Papworth, with one third waiting over a year."

Mr Green, who two years ago cycled 18 miles a day, is not the first person to receive an artificial heart, but he is the first person to go home with one.

He said "I want to thank all the wonderful staff at Papworth Hospital who have been looking after me and who have made it possible for me to return home to my family.

"I am really excited about going home and just being able to do the everyday things that I haven't been able to do for such a long time such as playing in the garden with my son and cooking a meal for my family."

Papworth has been using mechanical devices to support patients with end-stage heart failure since the 1980s. It is the only centre in the UK currently certified to implant the particular type of artificial heart used by Mr Green.