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Total Mechanical Replacement of the Heart in Calves

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Abstract

“Perhaps most dramatic of all, research efforts are now being directed towards the development of an artificial heart to replace a diseased heart. . . . This challenge — as exciting as any across the entire range of science—is enormously complex. . . . The goal is feasible; the problems are not insuperable.”1

Artificial hearts inside the chests of animals, replacing the natural heart, have been developed at the Cleveland Clinic since 1957.2 Currently, an artificial heart has been made that fits inside the pericardial sac of a calf. Thus, it does not encroach upon the space normally occupied by the lungs. Calves were selected because the size of the heart required is the same as in the adult human, and also because the problems with thrombosis are perhaps less difficult than in dogs.

It would be of great importance if more investigators would enter the field. Basic surgical experiments can be done and much useful experience can be obtained with the use of equipment developed earlier in our laboratory and now made available to other investigators through the National Heart Institute.** It is not implied that this equipment is perfect, or ready for clinical use. This paper, however, will show that it can be used in calves. We hope that other investigators will help to improve it.

Total replacement of the natural hearts of calves was accomplished with two different artificial hearts and three different driving systems. The following three combinations were used.

  1. Composite heart, handmade, driven by the . . .


 

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