Best of 2021 Stories

Artificial Heart & Heart Assist Devices

Artificial Heart & Heart Assist Devices

Texas Heart Institute’s Cardiovascular Surgery Research Laboratory—now the cornerstone of the THI Center for Preclinical Surgical & Interventional Research—has pioneered the development of cardiovascular devices, surgical procedures, and mechanical circulatory support approaches to treat patients with heart disease.

Pioneering Solutions for End-Stage Heart Failure

There are an estimated 26 million people worldwide living with heart failure, with approximately half of those patients dying within 5 years of receiving their diagnosis. Although some patients with end-stage heart failure receive a heart transplant, the limited supply of donor hearts (or a patient’s ineligibility for transplantation) makes circulatory support devices such as ventricular assist devices (VADs) or total artificial hearts (TAHs) an important treatment alternative.

Investigators at THI continue to build on their strong history of advances in this field as they develop and test novel support devices to provide improved treatment options to adults and children with heart failure and congenital heart diseases.

A Practical Artificial Heart Is Closer Than Ever

BiVACOR Total Artificial Heart one beat closer to use in humans – BiVACOR, Inc. and the Texas Heart Institute’s Center for Preclinical, Surgical, and Interventional Research, led by O.H. Frazier, MD, were awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) phase II SBIR grant for Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) testing of the total artificial heart. GLP testing is the final stage of preclinical work before petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to initiate clinical trials.

Funded by a separate, $700K NIH Phase II SBIR grant, THI performed proof-of-concept studies in which, for the first time, the BiVACOR Total Artificial Heart was successfully implanted in a preclinical model that represents pediatric patients. If shown to be safe and durable, this technology has the potential to be transformative for both adult and pediatric patients with heart failure.

A New Documentary Chronicles the Development of the Permanent Artificial Heart

Doctors and multimedia and communications specialists at the Texas Heart Institute (THI) worked with award-winning New York-based filmmaker Brian Schildhorn on a documentary titled Permanent Artificial Hearts are Closer Than You Think. 

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