The Artificial Heart Is Getting a Bovine Boost
An artificial heart from a French company is to be tested in patients in four countries.
SCIENTISTS have long searched for a durable artificial heart that can work as efficiently as the one supplied by nature.
Now Carmat, a company based in Paris, has designed an artificial heart fashioned in part from cow tissue. The device, soon to be tested in patients with heart failure, is regulated by sensors, software and microelectronics. And its power will come from two external, wearable lithium-ion batteries.
Fifteen years in development, the heart has been approved for clinical trials at cardiac surgery centers in Belgium, Poland, Saudi Arabia and Slovenia, where staff members are receiving training and patients are being screened, said Dr. Piet Jansen, medical director at Carmat.
In France, where the device is not yet cleared for human implantation, regulators have requested more animal tests, Dr. Jansen said; those tests are continuing.
Artificial hearts aren’t new, of course, but the Carmat heart is unusual in its design, said Dr. Joseph Rogers, an associate professor at Duke University and medical director of its cardiac transplant and mechanical circulatory support program. Surfaces in the new heart that touch human blood are made from cow tissue instead of artificial materials like plastic that can cause problems like clotting.
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