A patient who had been "desperately ill for a long time" became the world's third recipient of a self-contained mechanical heart after a six-hour surgery at a Houston hospital, according to a published report.

The procedure, reported Thursday by the Houston Chronicle, followed the success of two implants of the AbioCor device at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Ky. Doctors are hailing the third surgery as another success.

"It couldn't have gone better," said Dr. O.H. Frazier, who spent more than a decade helping develop the AbioCor replacement heart at the Texas Heart Institute and St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, where the surgery was performed Wednesday. "Everything looks stable now. He's not having any problems. We have some hope for him."

The completely internal pump, made of plastic and titanium and weighing less than 2 pounds, is powered through the skin by an external battery pack.

Frazier said the patient had heart failure and was not a candidate for a heart transplant because of complications involving his lungs.

The hospital did not identify the patient or give his age. Officials said a news briefing will be held Friday.

University of Louisville surgeons implanted the first AbioCor hearts on July 2 and Sept. 13 at Jewish Hospital in Kentucky.

The first patient, Bob Tools, is now in his 87th day. He is gaining weight and making excursions outside the hospital. Doctors said his kidneys, liver and lungs are functioning normally.

Tom Christerson, just 14 days removed from the surgery, is still in the early stages of recovery, but doctors said his condition is improving.

The heart, made by Danvers-based Abiomed Inc., is intended for patients with end-stage heart failure who have more than a 70 percent chance of dying within a month.

The AbioCor study is initially limited to five people nationwide. Other approved sites in addition to the Houston and Louisville facilities include Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, both in Boston, and UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.