A “bioprosthetic” artificial heart, created by Carmat, was successfully implanted in a patient at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in France last week, marking the first effective human implant for the company. According to Carmat the patient is in the intensive care unit but is doing well and able to speak to family members.
The procedure of implanting the artificial heart is said to have gone “smoothly”, with the heart now providing blood flow in the way it should.
The artificial heart, which includes sections of tissue taken from a cow, is three times heavier than a human’s. It can beat for up to five years and was created for patients suffering from heart failure in the later stages.
In September the company won support for its innovative creation from France’s Health Minister, Marisol Touraine, who said: “This news brings great pride to France,” she said. “It shows we are pioneers in healthcare, that we can invent, that we can carry an innovation that will also bring great hope to plenty of people.”
CEO for Carmat, Marcelo Conviti, was slightly more modest about the event saying: “We are delighted with this first implant, although it is premature to draw conclusions given that a single implant has been performed and that we are in the early postoperative phase,” he said in a statement.
According to Reuters, there are other patients now lined up for this procedure as part of the early human trials, with the procedure being deemed a success only when all the patients survive after having the implant for over a month. Potentially, 100,000 patients from the US and Europe could be helped.
If all goes well the only barrier to patients receiving the artificial heart will be price. The device currently costs around $195,000.
[Image via Adrenaline]