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Sunshine Heart Appoints Claudia Drayton as Chief Financial Officer

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn., Jan. 5, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sunshine Heart, Inc. (Nasdaq:SSH) announced today the appointment of Claudia Drayton as its Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Drayton, who was formerly Chief Financial Officer and Senior Finance Director for Medtronic Inc.'s Integrated Health Solutions Business, replaces Jeff Mathiesen, who will provide consulting services to the Company through the first half of 2015.

"Firstly, I wish to thank Jeff for his years of service and in particular, the integral role he played in transitioning the Company to the U.S. financial market. We appreciate his flexibility in working with us to ensure a seamless transition and wish him the best in his new endeavor. As our C-pulse® platform technology continues its momentum in both the post-market EU OPTIONS HF study and the US pivotal COUNTER HF™ study, it's a pleasure to welcome someone of Claudia's caliber to the management team. Claudia's expertise and experiences across multiple business verticals at Medtronic will be an invaluable asset as we strive to become a leading developer of innovative cardiac assist therapies," commented Dave Rosa, Chief Executive Officer of Sunshine Heart.

Ms. Drayton represents the Company's third significant hire in the past 12 months from a leading cardiovascular company in the industry. Prior to joining Sunshine Heart, Ms. Drayton spent the past fifteen years at Medtronic, Inc, a $17B global leader in the medical device industry. During her tenure, she held multiple senior managerial finance positions culminating with an assignment in Europe serving as Chief Financial Officer of the Peripheral Vascular Business (2010-2012) and most recently, as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Finance Director of the Integrated Health Solutions Business. In these capacities her responsibilities and experiences included profitability management, strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, planning and forecasting, and implementation of financial best practices. Before Medtronic, Ms. Drayton was an Audit and Business Advisory Manager at Arthur Andersen for seven years. She holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, a BS from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive).

As a material inducement to Ms. Drayton's entering into employment with the Company, effective today, the Compensation Committee of Sunshine Heart's Board of Directors, which is composed entirely of independent directors, granted an equity award to Ms. Drayton under the Company's New-Hire Equity Incentive Plan. The equity award was approved in accordance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5635(c)(4), which also requires a public announcement of equity awards that are not made under a stockholder approved equity plan. Ms. Drayton, who was not previously an employee or director of Sunshine Heart, received an option to purchase 110,000 shares of the Company's common stock at a per share exercise price equal to the closing sales price for the Company's common stock on today's date, as quoted on the Nasdaq Capital Market. The option has a ten-year term and vests over a period of four years, with 25% vesting on each of the first, second, third and fourth anniversaries of the date of grant, provided Ms. Drayton's employment is continuing on each such date, and subject to acceleration or forfeiture upon the occurrence of certain events as set forth in Ms. Drayton's option agreement.

About the C-Pulse® Heart Assist System

The C-Pulse Heart Assist System, or C-Pulse System, an investigational device in the United States, Canada and countries that do not recognize the CE mark approval, utilizes the scientific principles of intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation applied in an extra-aortic approach to assist the left ventricle by reducing the workload required to pump blood throughout the body, while increasing blood flow to the coronary arteries. Combined, these potential benefits may help sustain the patient's current condition or, in some cases, reverse the heart failure process, thereby potentially preventing the need for later-stage heart failure devices, such as left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), artificial hearts or transplants. It may also provide relief from the symptoms of Class III and ambulatory Class IV heart failure and improve quality of life and cardiac function. Based on the results from our feasibility study, we also believe that some patients treated with our C-Pulse System will be able to stop using the device due to sustained improvement in their conditions as a result of the therapy.

Caution: Investigational device, limited by Federal (or United States) Law to Investigational use.

About Sunshine
® Heart

Sunshine Heart, Inc. (Nasdaq:SSH) is an early-stage medical device company focused on developing, manufacturing and commercializing the C-Pulse System for treatment of Class III and ambulatory Class IV heart failure. Sunshine Heart has completed an approved U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) feasibility clinical study of the C-Pulse System and presented the results in November 2011. In March 2012, the FDA notified the Company that it could move forward with an investigational device exemption (IDE) application. Sunshine Heart received unconditional approval from the FDA in November 2012 to initiate its pivotal study. In July 2012, Sunshine Heart received CE Mark approval for its C-Pulse System in Europe. Sunshine Heart is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Minneapolis with wholly owned subsidiaries in Australia and Ireland. The Company has been listed on the NASDAQ Capital Market since February 2012.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this release are forward-looking statements that are based on management's beliefs, assumptions, expectations, and information currently available to management. All statements that address future operating performance, events or developments that we expect or anticipate will occur in the future are forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, our expectations with respect to future clinical study activities and results including patient enrollment in studies. These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, the possibility that our clinical studies do not meet their enrollment goals, meet their endpoints or otherwise fail, that regulatory authorities do not accept our application or approve the marketing of the C-Pulse System, the possibility that we may be unable to raise the funds necessary for the development and commercialization of our products, that we may not be able to commercialize our products successfully in the EU and the other risk factors described under the caption "Risk Factors" and elsewhere in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements because they speak only as of the date when made and may turn out to be inaccurate. We do not assume any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. We may not actually achieve the plans, projections or expectations disclosed in forward-looking statements, and actual results, developments or events could differ materially from those disclosed in the forward-looking statements.

CONTACT: For further information, please contact: Investor: Candice Knoll Blueprint Life Science Group T: +1-415-375-3340 Ext. 105 Claudia Drayton Chief Financial Officer Sunshine Heart, Inc. T: +1-952-345-4200 Media: David Schull Russo Partners T: +1-212-845-4271 Christopher Hippolyte Russo Partners T: + 1-646-942-5634

Source:Sunshine Heart, Inc.