Human trials start for artificial heart


French biomedical firm Carmat said Friday it had begun the first human implant trial of its prototype artificial heart, which aims at overcoming shortages of organs available for transplant.

The operation, which took place Wednesday at the Georges Pompidou Hospital in Paris, “went satisfactorily,” Carmat said in a statement.

Artificial hearts have been in use for many years as a temporary fix for patients with chronic heart problems. The Carmat product aims at providing a longer-term solution to bridge the wait and enable hospitalized patients to return home and perhaps even resume work.

A self-contained unit implanted in the patient’s chest, it uses soft biomaterials and an array of sensors, rather than a pump, to mimic the contractions of the heart.

The goal is to lessen the risk of blood clots and rejection by the immune system. Power for the 900-gram device comes from an external source or wearable lithium batteries.