The number of patients who would be candidates for replacement of their failing native heart with an artificial device increases every year. A multidisciplinary group at The Pennsylvania State University is working toward the development of a reliable, totally implantable artificial heart. Initial work resulted in a pneumatic total artificial heart that has performed well in animal implants and has been used clinically in three patients as a temporary bridge to cardiac transplantation. Although pneumatic total artificial hearts have demonstrated utility as temporary mechanical circulatory support devices, attempts at permanent implantation by other groups have been fraught with complications. Because of the suboptimal performance of the pneumatic devices used for permanent implantation, the authors’ groups at Penn State is developing an electric motor-driven total artificial heart with encouraging results in calf implants. This artificial heart of the future will use a transcutaneous energy transmission system that will obviate the need for percutaneous lines. Thus, the patient will be provided with as near a normal life-style as possible. At present the technology is at hand to implant an electric blood pump system that should provide a reasonable life-style and function reliably with minimal care. Ongoing cooperative experimental efforts will help to provide the answers necessary to make this system ready for clinical use.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging