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Medicine

+ - Artificial heart makers hoping to expand technology towards permanent implants-> 1

Submitted by
ericjones12398
ericjones12398 writes "Italian doctors at Rome’s Bambino Gesu hospital saved the life of a 16-month-old boy this week by implanting the world’s smallest heart to keep him alive until a permanent donor could be found. The baby suffered from dilated myocardiopathy, a heart muscle disease in which fibers of the heart are enlarged and eventually stop the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively. The device, which had previously only been used in animals, weighs only 11 grams (adult devices typically weigh 900) and pumps blood at 1.5 liters per minute.
Italian surgeons called the feat a “milestone,” and hope that it represents a significant stepping-stone in the eventual goal of developing a permanent implant for heart transplant patients.
The first-ever artificial heart to be implanted in a human being was the Jarvik 7, in 1982 in patient Barney Clark, who lived 112 days after his surgery. The prototype for the Jarvik 7 was conceived as early as 1949 at the Yale School of Medicine, utilizing an Erector Set, and successfully kept a dog’s heart beating for 90 minutes. Other animals to receive various improvements to this model included a calf and a bull, until the National Institutes of Health started an Artificial Heart Program in 1964, with the goal of human transplantation. Although Robert Jarvik, then of the University of Utah, was the project manager for the prototyping and design of the Jarvik 7, its engineering, development and refinement needed the efforts of over 200 physicians, engineers, students and faculty."

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Artificial heart makers hoping to expand technology towards permanent implants

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  • But maybe they have advanced a lot more than I knew. About ten years ago my cousin suffered a viral infection in her heart and nearly died from it. She was on an artificial heart for nearly a year -- and was completely immobilized while on it. The pump itself was external and very large, but still coudn't do the job effectively. After getting a transplant, they had to amputate several fingers and toes because of the lack of blood flow.

    She was incredbly lucky to not have gotten brain damage, as she's a resea

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