Soon heart transplants may be just a history, following the creation of a device that helps the heart pump blood more effectively.
William Peters, 43, calls the C-Pulse heart assist system a "turbo-booster" for people who have severe problems with their ticker.
"It's for people whose pacemakers have failed them but they still have symptoms of heart failure," he told NZPA.
The heart surgeon started designing the device about 10-years ago, tinkering with a prototype in his garage.
The C-Pulse has since been refined so it now successfully improves circulation and increases blood to the heart muscle. It does not come into contact with blood so it could be turned on and off.
"So it's a true heart assist device as opposed to a heart replacement device," Peters said.
The device is a bio-stable polyester fabric that wraps around the 3-5cm wide main aorta; a sensor is then attached to the heart to pick up its beats. In between the fabric wrap and the aorta is a small polyurethane balloon that inflates and deflates, which helps to pump the blood.
The balloon is attached to a gas line that comes through the skin and could be connected to a small external driver worn by the patient.
"They can wear it in a bag or a pocket, or bling it up," Peters said.
The pump could also be detached, the expert added.
"You've just lost your super-boost," he said.
"It's a one to two-hour procedure, it doesn't require the heart-lung machine, there's no holes made in the heart, there's no blood contact and it's very straight forward to implant. So from those aspects it's very low risk," Peters said.