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French Company Implants Second Artificial Heart

Update Date: Sep 08, 2014 10:43 AM EDT
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The French Company, Carmat, announced that it has implanted a second artificial heart in a patient and plans on adding two more patients to its clinical trials.

According to the French Health Ministry, the surgical procedure took place on Aug. 5 at an anonymous hospital that is located in the western French city of Nantes. So far, there is no information on the patient's identity and health.

The artificial heart was created so that patients who need a heart transplant do not have to wait years that they do not have on a donor list. The heart is also designed to reduce the side effects, such as blood clots and rejection that are caused by a real heart transplant.

The heart is made from biological material and sensors that imitate the functions of a real heart but weighs roughly three times more. It functions with the help of lithium-ion batteries that must be worn on the outside.

The heart is meant to be a permanent implant; however, more trials need to be conducted in order to test the long-term effectiveness of the device. The researchers reported that for the initial trials to be considered successful, the patients have to be able to survive with the transplant past one month.

The first patient, a 76-year-old man that received Carmat's artificial heart, died two and a half months after his procedure.

Carmat selects patients who have terminal heart failure, which occurs when the organ stops pumping enough blood to keep the body moving. These patients typically only have a few days to a few weeks to live. Carmat stated previously that the results from the trial will not be revealed prematurely. Data will be published when the study is completed.

If the results are promising, Carmat stated that it would recruit around 20 patients with less severe heart problems. The company's goal is to get approval to market the artificial heart in Europe by the beginning of next year.

The artificial heart is expected to cost anywhere from $181,000 to $233,000.

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