World’s First Artificial Heart Patient “Doing Well”

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Two months after the operation that saw the first time a patient was implanted with a cardiac bio-prosthesis, the recipient is feeding himself and no longer has need of continual respiratory assistance, according to his doctors

The 76-year-old man who received a Carmat complete cardiac prosthesis is in a “satisfactory” condition, two months after his operation which was a world’s first. So states the medial team at the Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou in Paris that’s following his progress.

The patient, who was suffering from terminal heart failure when he was operated on, underwent a “long and difficult” recovery phase; not entirely unexpected given his age and his physical condition, according to the hospital communiqué.

Hale and hearty: Prof Alain Carpentier

Hale and hearty: Prof Alain Carpentier

Amongst the markers of his progress thus far is the fact that he can “feed himself and doesn’t need continual respiratory assistance”, his doctors added, hailing the man as a “model patient” – courageous and full of humour. His bio-prosthesis, developed by the famous Prof Alain Carpentier, “is continuing to function in a satisfactory manner” and the patient did not have to take any anti-coagulant medicines since the 10th of January.

The Carmat artificial heart, made from bio-materials, does not require immuno-suppressive treatment and is, so far, the prosthesis that most closely mimics the natural functioning of the human heart. Unlike the pumps working on ventricular mechanical assistance that have been used up to now and whose usage is temporary, this new artificial heart stays inside the patient. Only the batteries (which last two hours) are outside the body of the patient. The realisation of the concept of the artificial heart took 20 years of research.

The experimental design must be implanted in three other patients in order to reach the first phase of clinical trails, whose goal it is to ascertain that the artificial heart does not put patients’ lives at risk. If the results are positive, the second phase will involve a further twenty bio-mechanical heart recipients.

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