This report describes the postmortem microbiological findings and related gross pathology from two patients who had the longest survival after implantation of the Jarvik-7-100 total artificial heart. We documented extensive polymicrobial colonization at the site of the device and adjacent structures; however, the internal drive lines were remarkably free of bacterial colonization despite evidence of infection at the skin junction and in close proximity to the artificial heart. The polyurethane polymer (Biomer) on the external surface of the device was discolored and pitted in appearance and the Velcro material that attaches the two ventricles together was eroded. A nonspecific mass of tissue that was adherent to the device and to portions of the drive lines contained inflammatory cells, fibrinous debris, and colonies of microorganisms.
Joanne J. Dobbins, G. Stephan Johnson, Calvin M. Kunin, William C. DeVries. Postmortem Microbiological Findings of Two Total Artificial Heart Recipients. JAMA. 1988;259(6):865–869. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720060033026