One of the biggest causes of death globally is heart disease. Often called “the silent killer,” heart disease is dangerous because many people die of heart illnesses without even realizing they’re at risk. For many people, a single heart attack is the first–and last–symptom they have of their illness, leaving their families reeling.
In this light, it only makes sense that two French medical technology companies are pushing for new treatments for heart disease. One, Carmat, has created an artificial heart that will be sold starting later this year in France and Germany. The artificial pump, called “Aeson,” is likely to save lives. Of the 60 million people suffering from heart disease, very few of them actually get a heart transplant, due to the exceeding rarity of organs available for such a procedure.
Another company, CorWave (a new French startup), is working on an artificial pump that emulates the flow of blood given by the human heart. Instead of pumping high levels of blood into the body, the CorWave pump gives pulses of blood, like the real thing.
Carmat’s Aeson artificial heart sounds like something from a science fiction novel. However, it is real: it’s a mechanical replacement heart that could save the lives of patients waiting on critical heart transplants. While normally patients are placed on long waiting lists for an organ donor to pass away of a cause that doesn’t destroy their heart, the Aeson system will be available as soon as the patient is ready.
Carmat explains that the mechanical device is battery-powered and that it was designed to exactly emulate the performance of a normal human heart. This technology would be invaluable to people who aren’t eligible for a traditional left ventricular assist device, or LVAD.
Existing LVADs have a number of complications that can arise due to the way they pump blood into the body. Doctors have pointed out that these devices can deliver unnaturally high amounts of blood into the bloodstream. CorWave’s LVAD, on the other hand, uses a “wave membrane” technology that allows it to closely emulate the performance of a normal heart.
This technology, CorWave hopes, will help patients just as well as a heart transplant. The advancement in technology is critical for patients who are waiting on a heart transplant or who are experiencing adverse side effects from a traditional LVAD. With the use of this cutting-edge tech, the companies both hope to end the threat of heart disease for as many patients as possible.