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December 1977

The Artificial Heart: Progress and Promise

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Drs Pierce, Rosenberg, and Waldhausen and Messrs Donachy, Landis, and Prophet) and Comparative Medicine (Dr White), College of Medicine, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center of The Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park (Dr Brighton).

Arch Surg. 1977;112(12):1430-1438. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1977.01370120020002

• A multidisciplinary group has designed, fabricated, and evaluated an artificial heart. The heart consists of two smoothsurfaced sac-type pumps, two pneumatic power units, and an electronic control system. The artificial heart has been employed in 22 calves. A variety of problems have been encountered and overcome and a significant improvement in pump design has been made. As a result, a gradual increase in survival times has occurred. The last two calves in which the heart was tested lived for 60 and 42 days respectively. These animals ate well and gained weight. The ability of the control system to balance the output of the two pumps over long periods of time and to automatically increase cardiac output with treadmill exercise has been confirmed. No insurmountable problems in the development of the artificial heart have been identified. The date that an artificial heart will be available for clinical use depends on the availability of funds and on the tenacity of the investigators.

(Arch Surg 112:1430-1438, 1977)

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