Last Christmas, a French patient received the gift of a lifetime: a live-saving artificial heart that regulates blood flow according to his physical activity.
After a 10-hour long operation in Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris, surgeons were able to successfully place a two-pound artificial heart inside the 75-year-old patient.
This “Carmat” heart is revolutionary because, unlike other “temporary” hearts, it can be used continually for up to five years, using sensors to regulate blood flow depending on physical activity. Most other artificial hearts beat at a constant rate, meaning patients have to closely moderate their activity so they don’t exhaust their body with the lack of blood flow.
The technology inside the Carmat mechanical organ took 25 years to develop. Human trials will hopefully be conducted in France, Belgium, Poland, Slovenia and Saudi Arabia until the end of this year. If it is approved as a valid heart replacement option, the Carmat artificial heart is expected to cost anywhere between $191,000 and $246,000.