• France's news in English

Patient 'progressing' after artificial heart op

AFP · 22 Dec 2013, 10:33

Published: 22 Dec 2013 10:33 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The patient was "progressing and recuperating", said surgeon Christian Latremouille, who was among the 16-strong team of doctors who performed the operation at the Georges Pompidou Hospital in Paris on Wednesday.

Artificial hearts have already been in use for many years as a temporary fix for patients with chronic heart problems.

The Carmat product aims at providing a longer-term solution to bridge the wait for a donor heart and enable hospitalised patients to return home and maybe even resume work.

"He was nearing the end of his life," Latremouille told a press conference, adding that the surgery had gone according to plan.

"The intervention took place in good conditions... There were no complications linked to the innovative nature of the implant operation," he said.

"He is not walking yet, but we will try to get him sitting and then standing soon enough. The objective is for him to have a normal life."

The artificial heart, a self-contained unit implanted in the patient's chest, uses soft "biomaterials" and an array of sensors to mimic the contractions of the heart.

The goal is to lessen the risk of blood clots and rejection by the immune system.

The patient will have to wear a belt of lithium batteries to power the heart.

Cardiac surgeon Alain Carpentier, who led the operation and who has spent 25 years working on the development of the artificial heart, said he was grateful to the patient for taking part in the trial.

"He has a lot of humour. He's a very good patient," he told reporters.

More volunteers could soon benefit from the 900-gramme (31-ounce) device, according to Philippe Pouletty, who co-founded Carmat with Carpentier.

"A number of patients are being selected. It is likely that other implantations will take place in the coming weeks," he told Europe 1 radio.

The first phase of the trial, on a small group of volunteers in terminal condition, will assess survival one month after the operation, or earlier if the patient receives a natural heart.

Story continues below…

"France can be proud of this exceptional effort in the service of human progress," French President Francois Hollande said in a congratulatory letter to the medical team.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault turned to Twitter to praise the achievement. "Thank you for the hope and prospects that this feat brings," he wrote.

Nearly 100,000 people in Europe and the United States are in need of a heart transplant, according to Carmat.

A US rival to Carmat, an artificial heart called AbioCor, is authorised in the United States for patients with end-stage heart failure or life expectancy of less than 30 days, who are not eligible for a natural heart plant and have no other viable treatment options.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available