General Advances in Artificial Hearts

Artificial hearts have come a long way in recent years, but still have a long way to go to match the potential offered by tissue engineered organs: "For nearly two years, 43-year-old Charles Okeke has tried to live a normal life in the hospital tethered to a 400-lb. machine ... Okeke now has what is called a 'total artificial heart.' Both ventricles were removed along with four valves. Connector tubes were sewn in. It pumps blood just like a human heart. ... The FDA has just approved this backpack-sized device that runs on batteries and weighs just 13 lbs. It's the first portable technology to support the entire artificial heart. ... Sensors that used to be the size of a can of soup are now about the size of a quarter. That leap has enabled us to downsize the entire console. ... Charles will have to work hard to maintain his health as he awaits a new heart, but if the right match is not found, doctors say he could live indefinitely on this device. The Syncardia total artificial heart costs about $125,000 and about $18,000 a year to maintain."


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