The CardioWestTM temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t) is an improved version of the Jarvik-7 Artificial Heart, which was first implanted in Barney Clark in 1982. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the artificial heart in 2004 as a bridge to transplant for patients at risk of imminent death from non-reversible biventricular heart failure (failure of both the left and right ventricles).
The CardioWest device consists of two ventricles connected to the respective native atria and greater vessels. An air hose or drive line covered with double velour material passes from each ventricle transcutaneously to a console that pulses pressurized air and monitors pump function. The device offers full circulatory support, one of the shortest blood paths and exposure to artificial surfaces, and one of the highest levels of cardiac output when compared with other artificial heart systems available today. The device fits most adults and some larger adolescents.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM 2004;351:859-867) reported a one-year survival rate of 70 percent for patients receiving the CardioWest TAH-t versus 31 percent for control patients who did not receive the device. One-year and five-year survival rates after transplantation for patients with the artificial heart were 86 percent and 64 percent, respectively.
Photo and illustration courtesy of SynCardia Systems, Inc., manufacturer of CardioWest™ TAH-t.