No Pulse: How Doctors Reinvented The Human Heart

For years, doctors attempted to create artificial hearts that mimicked the real heart—using methods that recreate blood pumping. Billy Cohn and Bud Frazier instead developed a continuous-flow device that has worked on calves and some humans, including patient Rahel Elmer Reger:

“The little quilted backpack held two lithium-ion batteries and the HeartMate II’s computerized controller, which are connected by cable through a hole in Reger’s side. Needless to say, she has never left her backpack on a bus. ‘My cousin once disconnected me, though, by mistake,’ she said. ‘I was showing her how to change the battery. She disconnected one, and then—I was distracted for a second—the other. I yelled, “You can’t do that!” and then passed out. The device blares at you. She reconnected it, and I came back. I was probably out for 10 seconds. She was completely freaked out.'”

Author: Dan Baum
Source: Popular Science
Published: Feb 29, 2012
Length: 25 minutes (6,348 words)
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