Smithsonian’s “Bionic Man” TV Special and Exhibit Feature the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart
Documentary States the SynCardia Heart is the Only Manmade Internal Organ That’s Already Saving Lives
TUCSON, Ariz. – Oct. 15, 2013 – A human-like bionic man envisioned in popular culture may be years away, but there’s one manmade organ that already is saving lives: the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart.
Scientists and roboticists researched and used the most advanced technology they could find to build the 2013 version of the bionic man, complete with prosthetic body parts and manmade organs. The documentary and complimentary museum exhibits are part of a collaborative effort that includes the Smithsonian Museum, London’s Science Museum, the Smithsonian Cable Channel and England’s Channel 4.
The high-tech cyborg, whose creation is documented in “The Incredible Bionic Man” television special and which has been moved from England to the Smithsonian Museum, not only has a skeletal frame with artificial limbs, but a heart, pancreas, lung, spleen and kidney.
“Many of these (organs) are still prototypes,” says the show’s narrator, Dr. Bertholt Meyer. “The hope is that one day they’ll solve the worldwide shortage of donor organs, but the (SynCardia) Artificial Heart is already saving lives.”
As the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart, the SynCardia Heart has been implanted in more than 1,200 patients worldwide. That accounts for more than 335 patient years of life on the device. Like a donor heart, the SynCardia Heart is the only device that eliminates the symptoms and source of end-stage biventricular heart failure. Unlike a donor heart, the SynCardia Heart is immediately available at 87 SynCardia Certified Centers worldwide with 33 others in the process of certification.
Today there are more than 3,000 Americans on a wait list for a donor heart transplant. Each year approximately 14-16 percent become too ill or die waiting for a donor heart. The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is a bridge to transplant for patients suffering from end-stage heart failure affecting both sides of the heart (biventricular failure).
The exhibit will be at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. “The Incredible Bionic Man” documentary will debut on the Smithsonian Channel at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific times on Sunday, Oct. 20. It shows the surgical implantation of the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart into a U.S. patient.
“The Artificial Heart is made of two chambers that replace the heart’s two ventricles, the work horse that pumps 2,000 gallons of blood a day,” says Meyer. “With all that work to do, the Artificial Heart has to be tough and durable. Its valves are titanium and its chambers are reinforced polymers.”
The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart in the Bionic Man is powered by the Freedom® portable driver. Once a patient’s condition becomes stable, they are switched to the Freedom. With this 13.5-pound wearable power supply, patients can be discharged from the hospital to wait for a donor human heart at home and in their communities.
“We are proud that the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is part of this documentary that shows the most advanced technology that can help humans live longer, healthier lives,” says Michael P. Garippa, SynCardia Systems Inc. CEO and president.
The Freedom portable driver is CE approved for use in Europe and undergoing an FDA-approved Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) clinical study in the U.S.
CAUTION - The Freedom portable driver is an investigational device, limited by United States law to investigational use.
›› See the full documentary “The Incredible Bionic Man”
›› Read the Smithsonian Magazine article about the technology within the bionic man
›› Read the Arizona Daily Star's article Heart of 'bionic man' came from Tucson
›› Read the Cronkite News article At the heart of Smithsonian's 'bionic man is an artificial ticker from Tucson
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.
Originally used as a permanent replacement heart, the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is currently approved 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.
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 175 patients, accounting for over 100 years of support.