In the worst cases, the only treatment is a transplant. But with more hearts failing than being donated, patients can spend years on a waiting list.
To help people awaiting a transplant, French company Carmat has developed a “total artificial heart” — a device to replace the whole heart until a donor can be found.
Similar in shape to a human heart and weighing 4 kilograms, it is powered by two battery packs that provide around four hours of charge before the device needs to be connected to a mains power supply.
CEO Louis de Lillers says CorWave has secured about €80 million ($96 million) in funding, including €15 million ($17.9 million) from the European Commission, and is preparing for clinical trials in the United States and Europe. A number of devices that help pump blood from one chamber already exist, but de Lillers says CorWave uses new technology that makes it more responsive to a patient’s activity.
“We’re able to track the activity of the patient and are able to adapt the flow to the patient’s needs,” he says.