A patient with terminal heart
failure is in "satisfactory condition" two months after becoming
the first person to be fitted with Carmat's artificial heart which is designed
to beat for several years, his hospital said.
The 76-year-old man is eating normally, no
longer needs constant respiratory assistance and is able to walk a little
further every day thanks to physical therapy, the Georges Pompidou European
Hospital in Paris said in a statement.
"The Carmat bioprosthesis continues to
function satisfactorily, without any anti-clotting treatment since 10 January," said the hospital, where the implant surgery was performed on 18 December
and where the patient is being treated.
It praised the patient's "exemplary
courage, sense of humour and family support" for playing a role in his
Read: Scientists can now grow human lungs in a lab
Biological materials and sensors
Heart-assistance devices have been used for
decades as a temporary solution for patients awaiting transplants, but Carmat's
product is designed to replace the real heart over the long term, mimicking
nature using biological materials and sensors.
It aims to extend life for thousands of
patients who die each year while awaiting a donor, while reducing the
side-effects that can be associated with transplants, such as blood clots and
Three more patients in France are due to be
fitted with Carmat's device. The people selected in this first series of
clinical studies suffer from terminal heart failure – when the sick heart can
no longer pump enough blood to sustain the body – and would otherwise have only
a few days or weeks to live.
Success depends on survival
Success will be judged on whether the
patients survive with the implant for at least a month. If deemed safe, the
device will then be fitted into about 20 lower-risk patients.
A spokeswoman for Carmat declined to say
when the other three patients in the first round of tests would be fitted with
its artificial heart.
The company estimates around 100 000
patients in the United States and Europe could benefit from its artificial
heart, a market worth more than 16 billion Euros.
Read: Artificial hearts gain acceptance
Chief Executive Marcello Conviti told
Reuters in November that Carmat hoped to finish human trials of the heart by
the end of 2014 and to obtain approval to market them in the European Union by
Among its competitors for artificial heart
implants are privately-held SynCardia Systems and Abiomed, both of the United
Picture: Artificial heart from Shutterstock
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