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France

First patient fitted with Carmat artificial heart dies

© AFP

Video by Kalvin NG

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-04

The first patient fitted with an artificial heart made by French company Carmat has died, the hospital that performed the transplant on him in December said on Monday.

The 76-year-old man died on Sunday, 75 days after the operation, the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris said in a statement.

It added that the cause of death could not be known until after medical data had been analysed.

Artificial hearts are not new. But the Carmat device  differs in that it aims to give patients a longer-term alternative to existing technologies, while enabling patients to resume an almost normal day-to-day life.

The  device is a self-contained unit implanted in the patient's chest. It uses soft "biomaterials" and an array of sensors to mimic the contractions of the heart, with the aim of reducing the risk of blood clots and rejection by the immune system.

The patient wears a belt of lithium batteries to power it.

Carmat co-founder Alain Carpentier, who led the operation, has spent 25 years working on the development of the  heart, which he says can beat for up to five years.

Carmat estimates that 100,000 heart transplants are needed in Europe and the United States.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-03-03

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