The quest for an
artificial heart started with the advent of successful heart surgery to
remove shell fragments from soldiers during World War II.
decades witnessed many key developments, including:
- the heart-lung machine,
- prosthetic materials to
replace damaged arteries and veins and to close holes between heart
- replacement valves,
- implantable pacemakers,
- coronary angiography to
diagnose and treat coronary artery disease, and
- the intra-aortic
balloon pump (IABP)
- the IABP gains wide
acceptance as a temporary cardiac assist system.
- cyclosporine, an
anti-rejection drug, makes human heart transplants feasible, although
the small number of donor hearts limits the number of patients who can
benefit from this therapy.
transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) to treat coronary artery
disease with a balloon catheter.
- external and
implantable ventricular assist devices enter clinical trials.
This decade has ushered in new technologies
- ABIOMED’s BVS 5000™
Bi-ventricular Support System, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration for support of patients with failing but potentially
- external and
implantable left ventricular assist devices, approved for temporary
support as a bridge-to-transplantation.
developmental work on a fully Implantable Replacement Heart, experimental
artificial heart technology relied on large external power and control
units. Some important milestones in the development of artificial-heart
technology are listed below.