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23 December 2013

Artificial hearts will make up for lack of human ones

A French biomedical firm has begun the first human trial of an artificial heart aimed at making up for the lack of human hearts available for transplant.

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French biomedical firm Carmat said on Friday it had begun the first human trial of an artificial heart aimed at overcoming shortages of organs available for transplant.

The operation, which took place at the Georges Pompidou Hospital in Paris, "went satisfactorily," it said in a statement.

The patient, whom it did not name, "is conscious and speaking to relatives," Carmat said, adding that it was too early to draw longer-term conclusions about the operation.

Artificial hearts have been in use for many years as a temporary fix for patients awaiting a transplant. But tens of thousands die each year because of a lack of available organs.

The Carmat product aims at providing a longer-term solution to bridge the wait, using biological materials and sensors, rather than a pump, to mimick heart contractions.

The company was authorised in September by French health watchdogs to carry out four trials.

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