Total Artificial Heart What Is Total Artificial Heart?
A total artificial heart is a pump that is placed in the chest to replace damaged heart ventricles and valves. Ventricles are the chambers of the heart that pump blood to the lungs and other parts of the body.
The total artificial heart has ventricles made from polyurethane, a widely used artificial material that is both durable and flexible. Once the pump has been placed in the chest, a machine called a driver controls the pump from outside the body. The pump and driver help blood flow to and from the heart, replacing the role of a healthy heart.
Your healthcare provider will do tests and talk to you about what to expect during surgery. As with any surgery, total artificial heart surgery can lead to serious problems such as blood clots or infection. As you recover from surgery, you may have to stay in the hospital to manage or prevent these problems. Before you go home, healthcare providers will help you learn how to protect and care for your total artificial heart.
The total artificial heart is mainly a temporary measure (often called a “bridge to transplant”) to keep blood pumping while a person waits for a donor heart for a heart transplant. In the United States, only one total artificial heart has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and it is only approved for use as a bridge to transplant. Scientists are still working to create a permanent artificial heart.
In some cases, people who are not candidates for a heart transplant may be able to receive a total artificial heart through participation in a clinical trial.