Questions Remain About Temporary Artificial Heart

Questions Remain About Temporary Artificial Heart

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(Washington-AP) -- Government advisers are debating whether a temporary artificial heart intended to help keep certain patients alive long enough to receive a heart transplant works well enough to sell.

The CardioWest Total Artificial Heart is essentially the same device that made headlines 22 years ago when Barney Clark became the first recipient of a permanent artificial heart, then called the Jarvik-seven. He lived 112 days at the University of Utah's hospital in Salt Lake City.

The device's new maker, SynCardia Systems, is seeking F-D-A approval to sell the CardioWest as a temporary bridge to keep patients dying of congestive heart failure alive as they await a donor heart.

Patients awaiting a transplant already have some F-D-A-approved options. Ventricular assist devices can be attached to a failing ventricle to boost pumping power.

The CardioWest is for use when both ventricles fail simultaneously. And it doesn't boost patient's existing ventricles -- it replaces them.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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