What Ever Happened to the Jarvik 7 Artificial Heart?
University of Utah Symposium Marks 25th Anniversary
of Artificial Heart Implanted Into Barney Clark
TUCSON, Ariz. – Dec. 12, 2007 – On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, more than 200 surgeons, biomedical engineers and heart device executives gathered at the University of Utah to celebrate the first implant of the Jarvik 7 artificial heart on Dec. 1, 1982, and present the current state of artificial heart pumping technology.
“The artificial heart is the result of six decades of work by many of the giants in medicine. Over the last 25 years we have made major improvements in the areas of surgical technique, anticoagulation (blood management) and patient care protocols,” said Steve Langford, vice president of clinical support for SynCardia Systems, Inc.
Today, the modern version of the Jarvik 7, the CardioWest™ temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t), is the first and only temporary artificial heart to receive FDA, Health Canada and CE approval.
“When all other treatments fail, the CardioWest artificial heart is able to save the sickest of the sick,” explained cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Jack Copeland. “These patients are often days, if not hours from death. Their survival is dependent on receiving a donor heart, or a CardioWest artificial heart as a bridge to human heart transplant.””
In the pivotal clinical study of the TAH-t published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM 2004; 351: 859-867), 79 percent of patients receiving the TAH-t survived to transplant. This is the highest survival rate for any device in the world.
In the 1990s, the Jarvik 7 technology was transferred to University Medical Center (UMC) in Tucson, Ariz., where it was renamed the CardioWest. Originally designed as a permanent replacement heart, UMC surgeon Dr. Copeland was the first surgeon to successfully use the artificial heart as a bridge-to-transplant in 1985.
SynCardia Systems, Inc. in Tucson, Arizona is the privately-held owner and manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart for use as a bridge to transplant for people suffering from end-stage biventricular heart failure in which both ventricles can no longer pump enough blood for a person to survive.
More than 1,300 implants of the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart accounts for over 400 patient years of life on the device. Since January 2011 more than 400 SynCardia Hearts have been implanted.
The youngest patient to receive a SynCardia Heart was 9 years old; the oldest was 76 years old. The longest a patient has lived with a SynCardia Heart was nearly four years (1,374 days) before receiving a successful donor heart transplant Sept. 11, 2011.
SynCardia Systems also manufactures the Freedom® portable driver, which powers the SynCardia Heart while allowing clinically stable patients to leave the hospital to live at home and in their communities. The wearable Freedom driver has been used by more than 175 patients, accounting for over 100 years of support.