Duke 1st in U.S. to implant new artificial heart

The surgical team at Durham, N.C.-based Duke University Hospital, part of Duke Health, on July 12 became the first in the U.S. to implant a new-generation artificial heart. The recipient was a 39-year-old patient with heart failure. 

CARMAT, the company that makes the device, received FDA approval last year to study the device in patients with end-stage biventricular heart failure. The goal of the study is to determine whether the artificial heart implant is a sustainable option before transplant. 

After being diagnosed with heart failure in June, the patient, Matthew Moore, was referred to Duke. Mr. Moore originally expected to undergo bypass surgery, but as his condition worsened, traditional options became too risky. At the same time, Duke was among three U.S. centers selected to participate in the study, and Mr. Moore was offered the option to undergo the surgery. 

The surgical team, led by Jacob Schroder, MD, and Carmelo Milano, MD, underwent specialized training to prepare for the procedure, according to a July 14 news release. 

"We are encouraged that our patient is doing so well after the procedure Monday [July 12,]" Dr. Millano said. "As we evaluate this device, we are both excited and hopeful that patients who otherwise have few to no options could have a lifeline." 

The artificial heart is an implantable prosthetic with biological valves created from bovine tissue, and runs on an external power supply. 

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