We have mentioned a number of times that the field benefiting most from the advancement in technology and science is the medical field. The event in Paris which took place last week on Wednesday only reinforces our statement. So what happenned in Paris last Wednesday? An artificial heart implant was carried out for a 75 years old patient. Hey wait a minute, what’s so special about that? Hah, we were waiting for that question. Well, This artificial heart is no ordinary artificial heart. What we are talking about is a Carmat bioprosthetic artificial heart, which according to the cardiac surgeon Alain Carpentier, is the world’s first self regulating artificial heart. The gadget is the result of a joint collaboration between Professor Carpentier and EADS (French aerospace firm).
So what does our Cardiac surgeon means when he says that it is self-regulating? In essence he is referring to the capability of Carmat Heart that allow it to alter the flow rate based on the patient’s physiological requirement. That is to say if the patient is performing a physical activity that requires more blood flow; Carmat will pump faster enabling rapid supply of blood and oxygen. How has this been made possible? By employing multiple miniature embedded sensors and proprietary algorithms that are processed using an integrated microprocessor.
The shortcoming of other ‘conventional’ artificial hearts is that they more or less beat at the same pace. Hence, they render the patient incapable to carry out activities that need more blood flow . However this recent invention is capable of doing much more than that. The Carmat, as of now, is capable of being fitted within 86% of males and 20% of females since it is a bit bigger than conventional artificial hearts. However, the company has already started working on a smaller version which according to the company, can be completed quite easily. Oh and this one is a bit heavy as compared to the natural heart and weighs in at almost 2 pounds. It employs an external lithium-ion battery pack for its power needs and this pack is worn by the patient. A fuel cell is also under development though. The heart is capable of operating for about 5 years.
The first test patient, after successful implant is recovering in the intensive care unit at Paris’ Georges Pompidou European Hospital, where he is awake and conversing. Marcello Conviti, Carmat CEO 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 postoperative phase.’
If all goes well, Carmat will be available in 2015 within European Union with a price of $190,000-250,000.