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‘Heartmate’ left ventricular-assist device, United States, 1993

Demand for organs for transplant far outweighs supply. The ‘Heartmate’ left ventricular-assist device (VAD) is an implantable device which assists a failing heart in a patient waiting for a transplant. The ventricles are the lower chambers of the heart which pump blood to the rest of the body. The device can also be implanted into people ineligible for cardiac transplants or those recovering from heart surgery, but is only used in chronic cases of heart disease. The improvement in a patient’s health and quality of life can be almost instant because of the increased blood flow. The Heartmate was made by Thermo Cardiosystems Incorporated.

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