How an Artificial Heart Gets Its Wings

Using airplane technology, scientists in France are making an artificial heart smarter by enabling it to assess and respond to a patient's need. Manufactured by start-up company Carmat, the device is equipped with the same small sensors that measure a plane's air pressure and altitude, which it uses to detect the heart's pumping speed and the pressure placed on the organ's walls.

November 1, 2008

1 Min Read
How an Artificial Heart Gets Its Wings

While there is always the chance of rejection with implants, this artificial heart is made of polymer, pig tissue, and other natural materials, which are less likely to cause rejection or clotting. Another potential advantage of the device is its two pumps (just like the real thing) that send blood into the lungs and the body. The implant would first be intended for patients with heart failure or who had suffered a massive heart attack. Human testing could start within the next two years.Despite the exciting promise of such a device, some experts aren't crossing their fingers. Previous efforts to replace the human heart proved unsuccessful, and since the device is so expensive (anticipated cost=$192,140), it probably won't help take the pressure off the donor shortage.

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