French company Carmat sells first artificial heart to Italian patient

A French prosthetics company announced on July 19, that it sold its first artificial heart. Carmat, the French company, announced that its artificial heart was bought and transplanted into an Italian patient.

Carmat stated that the procedure “was performed by the team headed by heart surgeon Dr Ciro Maiello at the Azienda Ospedaliera dei Colli hospital in Naples, one of the centres with the greatest experience in the field of artificial hearts in Italy.”
The artificial heart, marketed as the Aeson prosthetic heart, got the certification to be sold in the European Union in December 2020. The certification for the French company, which was founded in 2008, came based on the PIVOTAL research that had started in 2016 and which is still ongoing.
Carmat said the sale of the Aeson heart signified “a major milestone that opens up a new chapter in the company’s development.” The company also added that it was looking to help more customers in France and Germany by the end of the year. The artificial heart helps patients who need immediate transplants but have to wait for the relevant organs. According to a study in 2019, 73 percent of the patients survived the transplant for six months or until a successful permanent transplant within the same period.
While the treatment may prove to be lifesaving, the costs may be prohibitive. The surgical operation cost over 150,000 euros, which was paid for by the regional health system. The national system in Italy will not cover the procedure until it has been proven to be safe over several years.

First 3D Printed Heart

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have managed to 3D print a heart using a patient’s cells and biological materials — a first. Scientists have previously built synthetic hearts and bio-engineered tissues using a patient’s cells. But the latest feat is the first time scientists have created a complex organ with biological materials.

This is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” lead researcher Tal Dvir, a material scientist and professor of molecular cell biology at TAU, said in a news release.

The proof-of-concept feat could pave the way for a new type of organ transplant. For patients with late stage heart failure, a heart transplant is the only solution. But there is a lack of heart donors.

This heart is made from human cells and patient-specific biological materials. In our process these materials serve as the bioinks, substances made of sugars and proteins that can be used for 3D printing of complex tissue models,” Dvir said. “Our results demonstrate the potential of our approach for engineering personalized tissue and organ replacement in the future.”

The heart scientists printed couldn’t be used in a human transplant operation. Though completely vascularized, it’s too small at about the size of a rabbit heart. “But larger human hearts require the same technology.” Dvir said.

Researchers detailed their breakthrough this week in the journal Advanced Science.