Surgeons at St Vincent's Hospital in Darlinghurst have performed Australia's first artificial heart transplant to extend the life of a 50-year-old Sydney man suffering from total heart failure.

Angelo Tigano was implanted with the Total Artificial Heart during a complex five-hour operation last week. The implant replaces the left and right ventricles, which are responsible for pumping blood. Two cables connect the heart to a pneumatic driver outside the body to make it pump.

I feel good. I am looking forward to going home and just being in my own environment, quoted Tigano as saying on Sunday.

The artificial heart had kept a person alive for as long as four years, according to St. Vincent's heart lung transplant director, Dr. Phillip Spratt.

Between 30 to 50 heart patients in Australia are waiting for a transplant at any given time. But the wait is long and a quarter of that number is unlikely to live. The cost of the operation is also very expensive at $120,000.