One of the biggest health issues that the world has faced for many years is that of heart failure or heart-related problems. This is because the organ itself is, alongside the brain, the most important part of our bodies and serves essentially as an engine of life. Thus any problems affecting it, such as any contraction of the valves or reduced quality due to heart attacks, is very difficult to deal with as some more often than not, the damage to the heart is so devastating that it must be replaced.
This is where one of the biggest problems with heart failure comes into play as obtaining a heart transplant is very difficult due to scarcity – the demand for transplants is far greater than the supply or donations of hearts. Thus, a shortage is created and many patients are left in the “waiting room”, in which case the further delay or lack of treatment for the heart can lead to further complications that can be life-threatening.
In order to reduce the problem, various manufacturers and scientists are coming up with temporary “artificial hearts” that will serve as replacements for the damaged organs until a transplant can be secured for the patient. One of the groups involved in this innovation and research is the French company Carmat, who developed a “total artificial heart” which was approved with a CE marking back in December which allows it to begin commercial distribution (selling) of the product in the European Union by around June.
Currently, Carmat hopes to start selling around 20 hearts, each costing $190,000 to various hospitals. According to the French company, the hope for the future is that with technological innovation, the artificial heart can become a permanent replacement for the organ and eliminate the need for a transplant. Of course, this will prove quite difficult as the current model can only operate for about 4 hours before it needs to be connected to a power supply for charging.
Only time will tell if humanity will be able to overcome one of its biggest health problems.