Advances in microelectronics, high-strength magnets, and control system design now make replacement of the heart using an implantable, electrically powered pump feasible. The device described herein is a compact, dual pusher plate unit with valved polyurethane sac-type ventricles positioned at either end. The power unit consists of a small, brushless direct current motor and a motion translator. A microprocessor control system is used to regulate heart beat rate and provide left-right output balance. Bench studies lasting for as long as 1 year have been performed. Heart replacement with the electric heart has been performed in 18 calves since 1984. The longest survivor lived for more than 7 months. Among the causes of termination were component failure, thromboembolic complications, and bleeding. No major problem has been identified that precludes prolonged use of the electric heart. In the future the patient with end-stage heart disease will have an electric artificial heart as one therapeutic option.
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