Artificial Heart Could Help Those on Transplant Waiting List
A French company called Carmat has created an artificial heart that could potentially help save the lives of people with terminal biventricular heart failure. And no, this isn’t a future technology that won’t be available for another decade or so. It has been used in actual patients – including one who had the heart implanted two years ago. And it’s coming to the United States.
“The idea behind this heart, which was born almost 30 years ago, was to create a device that would replace heart transplants, a device that would function physiologically like a human heart, pulsing, self-regulating and being blood compatible. ” Carmat CEO Stéphane Piat recently told Reuters.
The artificial heart, which is about three times as heavy as the average human heart, has two ventricles separated by a membrane – one for blood and one for hydraulic fluid. Hydraulic fluid is moved in and out with a motorized pump that moves the membrane so that blood can flow. Built-in electronics, sensors, and microprocessors can autonomously regulate blood flow in response to the patient’s activity, who must carry a bag of actuator fluid, a lithium-ion battery, and a controller.
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“Carmat aims to address a major public health challenge related to cardiovascular disease, namely heart failure, the leading cause of death in the world,” the company said on its website. “In particular, Carmat aims to provide a permanent solution to the treatment of end-stage heart failure, a disease for which there are currently very few effective options. The most important is heart transplant.”
The artificial heart has reportedly received the required CE marking in Europe to demonstrate that it meets health and safety standards. The company received this approval last year and will launch in both Germany and France in the second quarter of 2021. According to SingularityHub, Carmat has also received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an early feasibility study in the U.S. That will also take place this year.
With thousands of biventricular heart failure patients currently on transplant waiting lists worldwide, this could be a massive game changer helping solve a big real-world problem.