Duke University Hospital surgeons have recently transplanted for the first time in the world a fully artificial heart in a 39-year-old man who had sudden heart failure. Unlike conventional ones, this artificial heart mimics the human heart and provides the recipient with greater independence after surgery, the university said in a press release.
The total artificial heart (ATH) was developed by the French company CARMAT and consists of two ventricular chambers and four biological valves. They ensure that the prosthesis not only resembles the human heart, but also functions as one. It was therefore the first total artificial heart transplant in the world.
How does the total artificial heart work?
The heartbeat is created by an actuator fluid that the patient carries in the bag outside the body. The heart is pumped through micropumps in response to the patient's needs determined by the sensors and microprocessors present on the heart itself. Two outlets connect the artificial heart to the aorta, which is an important artery in the body, as well as the pulmonary artery that carries blood to the lungs to oxygenate it.
The recipient patient was diagnosed with sudden cardiac arrest at Duke Center and had to undergo bypass surgery. However, his condition worsened rapidly, making him unsuitable even for a heart transplant. Fortunately, the Center was one of the test sites where CARMAT is testing its artificial heart after receiving primary approvals from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
After the total artificial heart transplant, the recipient is now stable and monitored in the hospital; the heart will continue to be connected to the Hospital Care Console (HCC) so that its functioning can be monitored. As part of efforts to lead a near-normal life, the recipient will need to carry a nearly 4kg (nine lb) bag consisting of a controller and two rechargeable battery packs that run for approximately four hours, before requiring recharging.
The device has already been approved for use in Europe. In Europe, however, it is not the subject of a definitive heart transplant, but only an artificial bridge for patients diagnosed with end-stage biventricular heart failure, who could undergo a heart transplant in the following 180 days.
Looking forward to new updates
Duke University Hospital is one of the world's forerunners in heart surgery transplants. Last year he began with heart transplantation from donors who died of heart failure, resuscitating these hearts in recipient patients, STAT News reports. With over 50 interventions of this type in the last year alone, the hospital
reduced the average heart transplant time to just 82 days. As one of six large hospitals in the US to provide heart transplant services, the hospital is already helping to reduce waiting times and the number of deaths.
The hospital conducted a video press conference. There were surgeons involved in total artificial heart transplantation and senior staff leading the transplant program. Attending the conference, the patient's wife, a practicing nurse, said, "As a nurse, I understand how important it is to take these advances forward." "My husband and I are so grateful. We have had the opportunity to participate in something that has the potential to impact so many lives."