Sierra and Vinnie: A heartwarming love story

Friday, September 14, 2001 at 1:00am

In Louisville, Ky., doctors have implanted the first fully-mechanical artificial heart in a human. University of Louisville heart surgeons who implanted the AbioCor artificial heart in the chest of a man in his fifties declined to reveal anything more about the identity of the patient.

This triggered a feeding frenzy among tabloid investigative reporters, each scratching in the dirt to be first to expose the identity of Deep Heart. Computer hackers went to work in efforts to break into hospital and university computer systems. In the absence of verifiable data, several early rumors have emerged. For the tabloid press, that's close enough.

The mechanical heart recipient is believed to be Vinnie Andronico of Bayonne, N.J., exit 14 off the New Jersey Turnpike. Before his heart condition, Andronico owned and operated a ladies hair salon where he was known as the

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