French implant artificial heart with five-year span

A French company has carried out its first implant of an artificial heart that can beat for up to five years, adding that the operation had gone smoothly.

The implant operation was performed on Wednesday at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris, biomedical firm, Carmat, said in a statement.

It said that the male patient was awake and talking and he was being monitored in the intensive care unit.

“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 post-operative phase,” said Carmat’s CEO Marcello Conviti.

Heart-assistance devices have been used for decades as a temporary solution for patients awaiting transplants, but Carmat’s bio-prosthetic product is designed to replace the real heart over the long run, mimicking nature’s work using biological materials and sensors.

It is aimed at helping the thousands of patients who die each year while awaiting a donor, and reducing the side-effects associated with transplants.

“It’s about giving patients a normal social life with the least dependence on medication as possible,” Alain Carpentier, surgeon and Carmat co-founder, told France 2 television.

Carmat estimates around 100,000 patients in the US and Europe could benefit from its artificial heart, a market worth more than €16bn.

“We already had devices of this type but they had a relatively low autonomy. This heart will allow for more movement and less clotting.

The study that is starting is being very closely watched in the medical field,” Patrick Nataf, head of heart surgery at Paris Bichat hospital, told BFM TV.

Among Carmat’s competitors for artificial heart implants are privately-held SynCardia Systems and Abiomed, both of the United States.

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