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Timeline: Artificial Hearts

Follow the development of the artificial heart from the first heart-lung machine in 1953 to the implantation of the first self-contained artificial heart.


1953:
A heart-lung machine designed by Dr. John Gibbon is used in a successful open-heart surgery, demonstrating that an artifical device can temporarily mimic the functions of the heart.

1964:
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute sets a goal of designing a total artificial heart by 1970.

1966:
Dr. Michael DeBakey of Houston successfully implants a partial artificial heart.

1967:
Dr. Christiaan Barnard performs the first successful human heart transplant. The patient, 53-year-old dentist Louis Washkansky, dies 18 days after surgery in South Africa.

1969:
A total artifical heart is implanted into a patient by Dr. Denton Cooley of the Texas Heart Institute. The patient gets a heart transplant three days later but then dies a day and a half later.

1982-85:
Dr. William DeVries carries out a series of five implants of the Jarvik total artificial heart. The first patient, Barney Clark, survives for 112 days. Only four others received the Jarvik as a permanent replacement heart; one, William Schroeder, lived 620 days, dying in August 1986 at age 54. Other patients received the Jarvik as a temporary device while awaiting heart transplants.

1994:
The Food and Drug Administration approves the Left Ventricular Assist Device, which helps failing hearts continue to function.

2000:
A man in Israel becomes the first recipient of the Jarvik 2000, the first total artificial heart that can maintain blood flow in addition to generating a pulse.

2001:
Doctors at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Ky., implant the first self-contained, mechanical heart replacement into a patient. The device, called the AbioCor, is battery powered and the size of a softball.

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