Science News

A Novel Artificial Battery-operated Artificial Human Heart

Sun, 27th Aug 2000

Doctors have come up with a new artificial heart pump which has been tested for the first time on a British man. The thumb-sized turbine pump was designed in New York by Robert Jarvik. It is inserted into the left ventricle, the main heart chamber, and pumps blood into the aorta, the bodies main blood vessel. The pump is powered by an external battery connected to an electrode on the patient’s scalp. The man, who is in his sixties, had been given only weeks to live, but thanks to the new pump, which was inserted in June, he is now able to lead a full and active life. Heart disease is one of the biggest killers in the UK, claiming 300,000 lives every year. Over 100,000 people could benefit from a heart-transplant each year, yet only 270 receive them due to severe shortages of donor organs. This means that pumps like this one are likely to make a major impact on a very common and serious disease, helping more people to live a better life.

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