Artificial hearts are used as a temporary fix for patients with chronic heart problems. Biomedical firm Carmat has designed a self-contained unit, which is a mix of synthetic materials and animal tissue, and seeks to mimic the form and function of an actual human heart.
This artificial heart uses soft bio-materials intended to lessen the risk of blood clots and rejection by the immune system. It is powered by a belt of lithium batteries. Carmat was hoping to provide a longer-term solution to tens of thousands who suffer from heart disease and are unable to receive a transplant. However, the second person in France to have received this new-generation artificial heart has died eight months after receiving the transplant.
The 69-year-old man, who wished to remain anonymous, was terminally ill when he received this experimental heart that was seen as a long-term solution for patients with end-stage heart failure. Carmat said, "The patient was admitted to hospital on Friday with circulatory collapse." A medical team noted the heart was not functioning correctly and therefore a new device was transplanted, however the patient died on Saturday from post-operative complications.
Carmat's first trial of the device on a 76-year-old man ended March 2, 2015, with the patient's death after two and a half months. The French firm's trial was to involve four people. A third patient was confirmed to have received the artificial heart last week. The first phase of the trial will be considered to be successful if patients survive for a month after the transplant. Carmat will then carry out a second phase of clinical trials which will involve 20 heart patients.