In many cases of heart failure a heart transplant is the only solution, but donor organs are in short supply. An alternative is an artificial helper device that can be implanted in the body to assist the ailing heart.
Tomorrow Today meets a patient at the Hanover Medical School who has been living with one such device for more than two years. The problem is that the control unit and power supply for the artificial heart are outside the patient’s body, connected by leads through a hole in the skin that can be a source of infections. That is why medical researchers and patients are hoping one day to develop a self-contained artificial heart that can be implanted in its entirety. A French model is currently being tested, and the technology is advancing.