A patient in France has become the first human being to have Carmat's artificial heart implanted into his system. The procedure was done on December 18 at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in France, and the patient is said to be doing quite well at the moment, which is a huge achievement.
The patient is strong enough to speak with family and friends, though it is not certain when he'll be given the chance to leave the facility.
According to Carmat, the operation went smoothly, and the artificial heart is providing blood flow as expected without any sign of error. This operation marks the first successful heart implant for Carmat; in addition, the company is planning more trials slated for the future, though Carmat did not specify when this is.
Carmat's artificial heart is quite the prize as not only does it have metal parts, but the company chose to add cow tissue to the device, as well. Earlier this year, the heart won approval in several countries such as Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Poland, and Belgium. Carmat's home country, France, later came onboard in September of this year, and the country's Health Minister Marisol Touraine is wasting no time voicing her support for Carmat and its very first human trial success.
"This news brings great pride to France," she told BFM TV. "It shows we are pioneers in healthcare, that we can invent, that we can carry an innovation that will also bring great hope to plenty of people."
"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," Carmat's CEO Marcelo Conviti said in a statement.
Carmat's artificial heart is capable of delivering blood flow throughout the human body for up to 5 years; furthermore, it is a whopping three times heavier than a normal human heart. We're guessing the patient who currently has this heart inside won't be able to do certain activities. However, the main goal here is to stay alive, so other things shouldn't matter that much.
A Reuters report stated that a trial will be deemed successful if the patient survives for over a month.
We hope Carmat finds a way to make future versions of the heart less heavy and one that will be able to perform much longer than 5 years. That would really change the world we live in today and bring us that much closer to the first bionic man.
However, Carmat heart isn't for everyone. It costs $195,000.