Scientists at the Texas Heart Institute (THI) suggest that BiVACOR, a private company, is on the verge of developing a bionic heart that does not beat. The BiVACOR device could be the first commercially available total artificial heart (TAH).

Dr. William Cohn, chief medical officer of BiVACOR, suggests that an average human heart beats more than 42 million times and replacing it with a machine is very complex. A machine that replaces the heart may have to be made with several parts and even one part fails it can prove fatal to the person who has the artificial heart.

BiVACOR, which is headquartered in Houston at the THI, is developing a bionic heart that will have just one part that moves. The device does not pump blood to the body but it propels blood.

"The device has performed in many respects better than any artificial heart anybody has come up with in the last 50 years," says Dr. Cohn.

The developers of the bionic heart consider the device to be the first one that offers a permanent mechanical solution for replacing a human heart. BiVACOR has tested the heart of large animals to understand the efficacy of the device.

The company explains that its TAH is designed in a way to work for long-term. The device can replace a native heart's entire function. The device has a technology that provides all the necessary cardiac output.

The BiVACOR TAH has external controllers with batteries than provides power to the implanted device.

"Implantation of a TAH is a treatment option for patients with end-stage HF who need support while on a heart transplant waiting list or who do not qualify for a transplant. Removal of the native ventricles allows the device to completely replace the function of the native heart," per BiVACOR.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that about 5.1 million people suffer from heart failures in the U.S. each year. Heart failure was responsible for 1 in every 9 deaths in the U.S. in 2009. About 50 percent of the people who develop a heart failure die within five years of diagnosis. Heart failures also cost an estimated $32 billion to the U.S. medical system.

About 4,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a heart transplant. However, the transplant procedure is restricted due to the lack of heart donors. The BiVACOR artificial heart can revolutionize heart transplant and help in saving the lives of millions of people each year.

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