Expect wireless heart pumps in the next few years, expert says

When the first successful artificial heart implants were performed in the 1980s, patients were tethered to a control console the size of a refrigerator. The models that followed, with smaller external batteries and controls, were not optimal but they did extend life.

The devices historically were used largely to extend the life of a person experiencing congestive heart failure until a donor heart was found. Now, however, implanted heart pumps are the sole intended treatment for half of the patients using them, according to Dr. Ulrich Peter Jorde, medical director of the mechanical circulatory support program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia.

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