Carmat implants its first artificial heart in human
France’s Carmat said it had carried out its first implant of an artificial heart that can beat for up to five years, adding that the operation had gone smoothly. The implant operation was performed at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris.
Heart-assistance devices have been used for decades as a temporary solution for patients awaiting transplants. Among Carmat’s competitors for artificial heart implants are privately-held SynCardia Systems and Abiomed, both of the United States. Artificial heart SynCardia is the only one approved both in the United States and the European Union and has been implanted over 1,200 times. The longest a patient has lived with SynCardia’s heart is just under four years.
Carmat’s bioprosthetic product is designed to replace the real heart over the long run, mimicking nature’s work using biological materials and sensors. It mimics heart muscle contractions and contains sensors that adapt the blood flow to the patient’s moves. The Carmat device, developed by a team of engineers from Airbus parent company EADS, weighs about 900g – nearly three times more than an average healthy human heart. It is expected to cost 140,000 to 180,000 euros in Europe.
It is aimed at helping the thousands of patients who die each year while awaiting a donor, and reducing the side-effects associated with transplants. In September, Carmat got the green light from French authorities to test the first human implants of the device on four patients in three hospitals. Earlier this year, it won approval to proceed with human implants in Belgium, Poland, Slovenia and Saudi Arabia.