Smithsonian Magazine Highlights the History of the Total Artificial Heart

Texas Heart Institute founder Dr. Denton A. Cooley performed the world’s first total artificial heart implant on April 4, 1969, launching the quest to build a total artificial heart that lasts to this day.  The device, developed by Dr. Domingo Liotta, was implanted in a 47-year-old patient with severe heart failure. The patient lived for nearly three days until a human heart was available for transplant. This was one of the most significant medical milestones for patients awaiting a new heart and paved the way for mechanical devices to be used as a bridge to transplant. This global event touched the hearts of millions around the world.

Texas Monthly’s executive editor and author of Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial HeartMimi Swartz, highlights the history of this global event in the April issue of Smithsonian Magazine.

Read the The Rivalry Between Two Doctors to Implant the First Artificial Heart: Featuring titans of Texas medicine, the race was on to develop the cutting-edge technology


Dr. Denton A. Cooley speaks to the press after becoming the first surgeon ever to implant an artificial heart. (AP Newswire Archives April 4, 1969)