The third week of December, 2013 saw French surgeons implant the first Carmat artificial heart in to a human being! The Carmat is the first part mechanical, part bovine heart designed for longer term use.
The Carmat is a heart device created from mechanical elements and cow tissue designed for up to five years of use as a complete human heart. French surgeons implanted the first of these Carmat hearts in to a patient during the third week of December, 2013. This is a significant step in the medical field since other artificial hearts are designed only for short term use.
The Carmat artificial heart utilizes flexible, hydraulically-operated chambers that squeeze the blood into the circulatory system rather than pump it like other artificial hearts do. The Carmat is also lined with natural bovine heart tissue to prevent clotting where the older artificial hearts promote blood clot formation with their hard plastic surfaces.
There are a few drawbacks to this long term solution however, the Carmat heart weighs around 2lbs and costs some $200,000 making it impractical for many.
The first recipient of the Carmat heart received their transplant on December 18, 2013 and as of the following day was already awake and talking in the intensive care unit of a Paris hospital.