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December 20, 1985

Pondering past, future of implantable heart

JAMA. 1985;254(23):3288-3292. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360230018003

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What is the immediate future of the implantable "artificial" heart?

No clear answer appears to have emerged so far, but an important related question is: Should implantation of the artificial heart at present be restricted to temporary replacement while patients are awaiting a suitable donor heart? Several of the surgeons who have implanted a total cardiac replacement device of one sort or another seem to agree that, pending further improvements in the devices, this is the most practical clinical approach.

The surgeons spoke out during a day-long discussion about the use of the artificial device. The discussion was between heart surgeons and journalists—most of whom had reported on the artificial heart developments as they unfolded.

The meeting was arranged by the Foundation for American Communications and held in Washington, DC. It was billed as a sort of postmortem examination of how the recent press coverage of the artificial heart affected