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Feb 23, 2011 at 06:32pm IST

Surgery combines two hearts to save man's lif

San Diego: A California man can feel two hearts beating. He recently underwent a rare and life-saving surgery that added a second, healthier heart to the defective one he was born with.

Thirty six-year-old Tyson Smith was born with a progressive condition that enlarged his heart. A normal heart is about the size of our fist. The X-rays report of Smith showed how enlarged his heart had become.

He arrived at the Thornton hospital in San Diego with a critical heart condition. His congestive heart failure, coupled with high blood pressure in the lungs, made a traditional heart transplant impossible.

"You grow into it and as you get older your heart just gets bigger and bigger and as the heart gets bigger it can't pump as effectively," said Dr Copeland of UC San Diego Health System said about this condition.

Dr Jack Copeland gave Smith what's called a heterotopic or piggy-back heart transplant. In this procedure, by surgically attaching Smith's old, weaker heart to a new one, they now work in sync to work as one healthy heart.

The most befitting part of this rare medical procedure is that Smith woke up on Valentine's Day with both his hearts working side by side.

Tyson Smith considers himself very fortunate as he has a family history of this rare hear condition. He gratefully said, "I got two hearts, I'm living, I feel blessed."

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