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Dhaka Tribune

France implants first artificial heart

Update : 22 Dec 2013, 04:52 PM

Surgeons perform pioneering new surgery to give man an implant

An artificial heart that can give patients up to five years of extra life has been successfully implanted for the first time in France.

The heart, powered by watch-style batteries that can be worn externally, was put into a 75-year old patient at Paris’s Georges Pompidou Hospital.

Unlike previous artificial hearts, created mainly for temporary use, the design by the French Carmat biomedical firm is intended to replace a real heart for as many as five years, reports the Telegraph.

French medics said the unnamed male patient who received the device was awake and responding well after an operation on Wednesday. Marcello Conviti, the chief executive of Carmat, said: “We are delighted with this first implant, although it is premature to draw conclusions given that a single implant has been performed and that we are in the early post-operative phase.”

The artificial heart, developed with the help of engineers from the Dutch-based European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), weighs 2lbs--almost three times as much as an average healthy human heart. It mimics heart muscle contractions and contains sensors that adapt the blood flow to the patient’s moves.

Inside the heart, surfaces that come into contact with human blood are made partly from bovine tissue instead of synthetic materials such as plastic, which can cause blood clots.

The new device could help thousands of people who die each year while waiting for a donor, including many in Britain. Nearly 100,000 people in Europe and the United States are in need of a heart transplant, according to Carmat.

It is expected to cost €140,000 (£120,000) to €180,000 (£150,000) if and when it goes on sale in Europe. The company’s shares have risen fivefold since floating on the Paris stock market in 2010. Among Carmat’s competitors in the race to perfect artificial heart implants are the privately-owned company, SynCardia Systems, and Abiomed, both of the United States.

The longest a patient has lived with a SynCardia heart is just under four years.

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