Replacing the human heart

Published 2:20 PM ET, Tue December 3, 2013
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Scientists at the Texas Heart Institute are working to create a permanent replacement for the human heart. The blades on this BiVACOR device rotate an average of 2,000 times per minute, pushing blood throughout the body without creating a pulse. The Texas Heart Institute
In the early 2000s, Dr. O. H. "Bud" Frazier, left, and Dr. Billy Cohn began by combining two LVADs, or Left Ventricular Assist Devices, to create an artificial heart. They tested the device in around 70 calves, most of whom survived through the 90-day studies. The Texas Heart Institute
In March 2011, the doctors inserted the double LVAD into a human patient: 55-year-old Craig Lewis who was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease. Lewis survived for six weeks on the device. The Texas Heart Institute
Lewis' case convinced Cohn, left, and Frazier that humans could indeed live without a pulse. The Texas Heart Institute
Two years ago biomedical engineer Daniel Timms arrived at Cohn's office carrying a heart device he had been working on for a decade. The doctors agreed to work with Timms to test the BiVACOR. The Texas Heart Institute
If all goes well, the scientists hope to submit their artificial heart for FDA approval within the next few years. The Texas Heart Institute