Science applied to medicine: artificial hearts

A ray of hope for all patients suffering from heart failure and desperately waiting for the availability of a compatible heart to hope to live longer. The Carmat heart is now approved for commercialization.

Mechanical Circulatory Assistants

Implanted for the first time on a human 7 years ago, the Carmat heart finally obtains the CE marking (European Conformity) at the end of 2020. This marking opens the door to the European and even global market. It joins its predecessors and competitors on the list of Mechanical Circulatory Assistants (MCA).

In fact, the ACMs are designed to replace the heart in its major role which is to supply the body with blood. To do this, the CMS behaves like a heart whose role is to pump in order to ensure the circulation of blood.

The development of such mechanisms started very early. As early as 1969, the first total artificial heart was observed. However, it was not until 1982 that this technology took off, after an implantation in an American, Barney Clark, who was subject to heart failure. At that time, the level of science did not allow for great miracles, and this cardiac assistant had caused complications in his host.

Today, the evolution of science and technology allows experts to manufacture much more refined and practical devices in terms of size. Today, the machines are smaller (500 to 900 g), quieter, and equipped, depending on the model, with mini turbines, motor pumps, and reconstructed heart valves.

Adaptive operation

Sometimes, microelectronics is also used, allowing an automatic adaptation to the patient’s activities thanks to the presence of micro-sensors sensitive, for example, to the acceleration of the walk.

More than 250 patients each year in France

Every year in France, approximately 250 patients undergo a « real » heart transplant. This may be a total artificial heart, implanted in place of the diseased organ, or a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), to which the heart is connected.