Most Advanced Artificial Heart Approved for Sale in Europe, Raising Hopes for Those Awaiting Transplants

February 24, 2021
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A French firm that has long been testing and refining an artificial heart is ready to begin sale of the device in the second quarter of 2021.

Called the Aeson, the 900-gram device is powered by batteries and relies on sensors and biological materials to detect exactly which function it must perform at any given time.

The firm Carmat has been working on the Aeson for decades in response to rising rates of heart disease in France and across the world, which it estimates claims 26 million lives every year.

Organ donor rates in Europe are not enough to meet demand, and so the Aeson will really come into its own as another option for those on waiting lists for new hearts: helping a European demographic of about 2,000 people, estimates Carmat.

“The idea behind this heart, which was born nearly 30 years ago, was to create a device which would replace heart transplants, a device that works physiologically like a human heart, one that’s pulsating, self-regulated and compatible with blood,” Stéphane Piat, Carmat’s CEO, told Reuters, according to France24.

A second chance

An Aeson will function for several years in patients. It works by attaching biological bits to its mechanical ones, and using batteries and actuator fluid to power the functions of a normal heart.

A small discreet bag would contain a controller with lithium-ion batteries, as well as the fluid container, all weighting less than five kilograms.

One gentleman who received the Aeson in 2015 told reporters at the time that he “never felt so good.”

“I walk, I get up and I bend over 10 to 15 times a day, without any problem. I keep my balance. I’m not bothered. I don’t even think about it,” the 69-year old father of two told the JDD weekly.

Indeed the surgeon even said that the man had resumed riding bikes, and as a black belt judoka, even asked permission to resume martial arts.

“As part of his rehabilitation, we made him do a number of physical activities such as riding an exercise bike, and when we last met, he told us ‘of course, I have a bike, a traditional bike and I ride but… don’t worry, I avoid big hills’,” he said.

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