On average, 17 people die each day in the US because they aren’t able to get an organ transplant in time. That’s what makes the emergence of artificial organs such an exciting development in the world of medicine — and that’s also why the news about the successful completion of the first human implantation in the US of an artificial heart device is worth celebrating.
Called Aeson, the artificial heart device was developed by the French company Carmat. It has two ventricular chambers and four biological valves — just like the real organ — and is powered by an external device.
As reported by Science Alert, the artificial heart incorporates living tissue from bovine cells and also hosts a combination of sensors and algorithms to maintain its pace and keep the blood flowing through the body.
“We are encouraged that our patient is doing so well after the procedure,” said cardiologist Carmelo Milano from the Duke University School of Medicine. “As we evaluate this device, we are both excited and hopeful that patients who otherwise have few to no options could have a lifeline.”
The patient who underwent the surgery is 39-year-old Matthew Moore, whose worsening heart condition made him unfit for a regular heart transplant which would have been too risky to perform. Fortunately, he was in the right place, as the Aeson device is being tested at Duke University, pending approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.
The novel device was developed specifically with the purpose of helping those whose hearts can no longer pump enough blood through both chambers. Though it replaces the entire natural heart, it is not intended to be permanent. Instead, it’s designed to serve as a temporary solution before an actual heart transplant can be performed within six months or so.
“Because of the shortages of donor hearts, many patients die while waiting for a heart transplant,” said cardiologist Jacob Schroder from Duke University School of Medicine. “We are hopeful for new options to help these patients, many like Mr. Moore who have devastating disease and cannot otherwise be considered for a transplant.”
Image source: CARMAT