Patient 'progressing' after first artificial heart implant in France

December 22, 2013 by Laurence Benhamou

A 75-year-old man who this week became the first person to receive an artificial heart developed by French biomedical firm Carmat was progressing well, doctors said Saturday.

The patient was "progressing and recuperating", said surgeon Christian Latremouille, who was among the 16-strong team of doctors who performed the operation at the Georges Pompidou Hospital in Paris on Wednesday.

Artificial hearts have already 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 for a donor heart and enable hospitalised patients to return home and maybe even resume work.

"He was nearing the end of his life," Latremouille told a press conference, adding that the surgery had gone according to plan. "The intervention took place in good conditions... There were no complications linked to the innovative nature of the implant operation," he said.

"He is not walking yet, but we will try to get him sitting and then standing soon enough. The objective is for him to have a normal life."

The artificial heart, a self-contained unit implanted in the patient's chest, uses soft "biomaterials" and an array of sensors to mimic the contractions of the heart.

The goal is to lessen the risk of blood clots and rejection by the immune system.

The patient will have to wear a belt of lithium batteries to power the heart.

Cardiac surgeon Alain Carpentier, who led the operation and who has spent 25 years working on the development of the artificial heart, said he was grateful to the patient for taking part in the trial. "He has a lot of humour. He's a very good patient," he told reporters.

More volunteers could soon benefit from the 900-gramme (31-ounce) device, according to Philippe Pouletty, who co-founded Carmat with Carpentier.

"A number of patients are being selected. It is likely that other implantations will take place in the coming weeks," he told Europe 1 radio.

The first phase of the trial, on a small group of volunteers in terminal condition, will assess survival one month after the operation, or earlier if the patient receives a natural heart.

"France can be proud of this exceptional effort in the service of human progress," French President Francois Hollande said in a congratulatory letter to the medical team.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault turned to Twitter to praise the achievement. "Thank you for the hope and prospects that this feat brings," he wrote.

Nearly 100,000 people in Europe and the United States are in need of a heart transplant, according to Carmat.

A US rival to Carmat, an called AbioCor, is authorised in the United States for patients with end-stage heart failure or life expectancy of less than 30 days, who are not eligible for a natural heart plant and have no other viable treatment options.

Explore further: French firm starts human trials of artificial heart

Related Stories

French firm starts human trials of artificial heart

December 20, 2013
French biomedical firm Carmat said on Friday it had begun the first human trial of its prototype artificial heart, which aims at overcoming shortages of organs available for transplant.

Artificial heart with Norwegian sensor

December 19, 2013
France is going to test an artificial heart on patients. The heart will contain a Norwegian pressure sensor.

Space technology informs artificial heart development

December 6, 2013
An artificial heart containing miniaturised space technology will soon beat inside a person, having now been approved for human trials in France.

Heart surgery mortality rates significantly reduced

November 25, 2013
Fifty years have passed since the first heart operation was carried out with a heart-lung machine at the MedUni Vienna in the Vienna General Hospital. Since then cardiac surgery has developed at an astonishing rate – to ...

UCLA doctors remove man's heart, replace it with total artificial heart

December 7, 2012
Imagine living without a heart. It is possible—if you have a new artificial heart pumping blood through your body. You can even go to the supermarket, watch your kid's soccer game or go on a hike.

Recommended for you

Researchers borrow from AIDS playbook to tackle rheumatic heart disease

January 22, 2018
Billions of US taxpayer dollars have been invested in Africa over the past 15 years to improve care for millions suffering from the HIV/AIDS epidemic; yet health systems on the continent continue to struggle. What if the ...

A nanoparticle inhalant for treating heart disease

January 18, 2018
A team of researchers from Italy and Germany has developed a nanoparticle inhalant for treating people suffering from heart disease. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.