CARMAT is an artificial heart named after the manufacturing company. It is similar to the artificial heart that we have right now, SynCardia. CARMAT is mainly composed of three components: an implantable prosthesis, an external hardware system, and a controller.
1.Implantable prosthesis: It is composed of valves, pumps, cables, and sensors that work in harmony to pump blood out of the heart
2. External hardware system: It can be carried in a pouch.
3. Controller: It is used by a patient’s medical team to track the functioning of an artificial heart.
Some advantages of CARMAT over SynCardia are as follows:
SynCardia produces noise because it is operated by the action of airflow while CARMAT is battery operated, so it is free of noise.
Since CARMAT is made up of biological materials, patients do not need to take blood thinner medications, unlike SynCardia.
In SynCardia, an external actuator is required, unlike CARMAT which has an inbuilt internal actuator.
Unlike SynCardia, CARMAT can produce the rate of blood flow depending upon the patient’s need.
Since CARMAT has inbuilt sensors, electronics, and microprocessors, this reduces the risk of user-interface errors, unlike SynCardia.
Globally, the supply of donor hearts is very low compared to the demand. Therefore, patients have to wait for at least 6 months until they get a heart transplant. Patients who have one-sided (univentricular) heart failure or early-stage heart failure can wait at home until they get a donor organ but patients with biventricular (both sides of the heart) end-stage heart failure have to stay in the hospital until they get a donor organ.
The advantage of this device is that patients can go home and enjoy life while waiting for a heart transplant. This device acts as a temporary solution till the patient gets a donor’s heart. In one clinical trial, this device worked for more than 2 years in some patients, therefore, this device has the potential to act as a long-term solution in patients with heart failure.
The European Commission approved the sale of this device in Europe a month ago. Therefore, the manufacturing company has planned to start sales of this device from the second quarter of 2021 in some European nations.
According to the report of the American Heart Association, there were about 6.2 million people with heart failure in 2013-2016. The Framingham Heart Study reported a prevalence of heart failure in men of 8 per 1000 at age 50-59 years, increasing to 66 per 1000 at 80 -89 years and similar values (8 and 79 per 1000) were reported in women.
It is estimated that the prevalence of heart failure in African-American populations is 25% higher than in white populations. It has been seen that the death rate due to heart failure is rising from 5.8 per 1000 in 1970 to 16.4 per 1000 in 1993. In the USA, the total number of transplants done every year is about 3,000 and about 50,000-60,000 patients would benefit from heart transplants. From this figure, we can see how much discrepancy is there between the demand and supply of heart donors, and thus patients have to wait a long time to get a donor organ. So, this device seems a very good option for such patients.
A clinical trial is about to undergo at VCU health in the USA to prove that the CARMAT meets the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) standards for both safety and performance. This trial will enroll 10 patients with heart failure.
Kristin Houser, Total artificial heart approved for sale in Europe
Ho KK, Pinsky JL, Kannel WB, Levy D, J Am Coll Cardiol. 1993;22(4 Suppl A):6A. , The epidemiology of heart failure: the Framingham Study.
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Morbidity and Mortality Chartbook on Cardiovascular, Lung and Blood Diseases. National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 1996.
VCU Health leads clinical trial of advanced artificial heart