Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Better Artificial Heart

A good approximation of the human heart has proven frustratingly difficult. Thousands of people worldwide die every year waiting for heart transplants. Over 5 million Americans have heart failure. Much can be done to mitigate heart failure but our options are ultimately limited with regard to a dying heart. Two artificial hearts have been invented in the United States, including the Jarvik artificial heart of Dr. Robert Jarvik, made famous and somewhat infamous by Pfizer. Both models have practical limitations.

A new artificial heart (h/t DJ) has been developed by renowned French cardiac surgeon Alain Carpentier and engineers from aircraft manufacturer Airbus that promises better continuity with the heart's recipient. Advances include a "pseudo-skin" for the heart to reduce clots and better synchronization of the heart with the body's metabolic needs.

(image credit: timesonline.co.uk)