First artificial heart transplant done outside France

An artificial Carmat heart. The company has announced a successful operation for the first time outside of France

French biomedical company Carmat has announced that it has successfully implanted an artificial heart outside of France for the first time.

Although the date of the operation has not been released, it is said to have taken place at the National Research Center for Cardiac Surgery, in Astana, Kazakhstan, reports French newspaper Le Monde.

This is the first time that the company has successfully managed the procedure outside of France, having completed it for the first time ever in 2013.

The procedure, which used an artificial heart rather than a real one, was deemed a success at first, but the patient in question died 75 days after the operation, due to the heart’s batteries failing.

Four more attempts were made, with each patient dying soon after.

In principle - and when operating as intended - it is hoped that the hearts will bring at least five years of extra life to patients who would otherwise be considered terminal.

Following these deaths, however, the National Agency of Security and Medicine (l’Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament (ANSM)) asked for more guarantees ahead of any more trials, and Carmat was suspended from operating on any more patients for six months.

Now, the company plans to include 20 patients suffering from heart failure - specifically, advanced biventricular heart failure - in a new study, to “evaluate the security and performance of the system”, and began trials again in May this year.

Carmat - with the name created after combining the surname of co-founding surgeon Alain Carpentier with co-founding company Matra Défense - is a biomedical organisation based in Vélizy-Villacoublay, in Ile-de-France, founded in the 1990s.

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