Friday, May 31, 2013

New Artificial Heart Is Part Cow, Part Pump


Every year between 2,000 and 3,000 people in the United States get a new heart from an organ donor. About the same number of people remain on waiting lists and many die before they ever get a chance at a transplant.

Artificial hearts are currently used as a stopgap measure while patients wait to get a donor heart. By definition the hearts only last a certain amount of time. That can be years — one made by SynCardia Systems, Inc. has lasted up to 1,374 days — but it’s still not a permanent solution. On top of that, an artificial heart requires a “driver” that has to be worn outside the body and connects through the skin — increasing the chance for infection.

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