France Implants First Artificial Heart

The French Carmat artificial heart designed to give up to five additional years of life has been successfully implanted for the first time. The heart is powered by watch-style batteries that can be worn externally; otherwise the heart is fully encased by the human rib cage.


( Alain Carpentier presents a prototype of the world's first fully implantable artificial heart )

The artificial heart, developed with the help of engineers from the Dutch-based European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), weighs 2lbs — almost three times as much as an average healthy human heart. It mimics heart muscle contractions and contains sensors that adapt the blood flow to the patient’s moves.

Inside the heart, surfaces that come into contact with human blood are made partly from bovine tissue instead of synthetic materials such as plastic, which can cause blood clots.

Alain Carpentier, the surgeon who performed the implant, said: “It’s about giving patients a normal social life with the least dependence on medication as possible.

“We’ve already seen devices of this type but they had a relatively low autonomy. This heart will allow for more movement and less clotting. The study that is starting is being very closely watched in the medical field.” Heart failure affects more men than women, and the size of the artificial heart means it can fit in 86 per cent of men’s bodies but only about 20 per cent of women. However, Carmat says it can manufacture a smaller version to fit the more petite bodies of women as well as patients in India and China.

It seems like only yesterday (well, actually it's been a half-century) since fans of writer Philip K. Dick thrilled to the idea of the artif-orgs (or artificial organs) from his 1964 novel Cantata 140:

George Walt's corporate existence proved the workability of wholly mechanical organs...

"...if they keep after me, or if they won't make a deal regarding artif-org construction - then it'll be necessary to do something.

From The Telegraph.

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