Harvard Heart Letter

Artificial heart helps the beat go on

The FDA's approval of an artificial heart paves the way for wider use. But who needs it?

Heart transplants extend the lives of almost 2,500 Americans each year. Thousands more with failing hearts are literally dying for a transplant.

In the fall of 2006, the FDA gave limited approval to a totally implantable artificial heart, the AbioCor, made by Massachusetts-based Abiomed, Inc. It could help bridge the gap between people who need new hearts and the number available for transplant. The AbioCor represents a huge technological advance over the first total artificial heart. What it can do for its recipients remains to be seen.

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